January 11, 1964.
The figures published recently show that Ireland’s potential as a tourist attraction has not been exhausted yet.
Each year a steady increase in revenue from this source has been recorded. If we examine figures alone we see that each year we are getting more experienced and that should be a cause for our continued interest in the great potential of a big industry.
But leaving these figures we find that there is no room for complacency but that, in fact, there is a pressing need for better handling of the tourist industry. We find that several aspects, sometimes major aspects, of the industry have been neglected.
So far, the emphasis has been on the wrong type of tourist. Recent figures have shown that:
Most of our tourists - the vast majority - have come from Britain and the Six Counties.
There has been an appreciable increase in the number who bring their own motor transport.
There has also been an increase in the number who travel from place to place, staying perhaps about two days in each centre.
These people spend more money in their short stays in each centre than those who stay for longer periods in any particular centre.
Thus we have a picture of our “typical” visitor. In general, there is no doubt, it can be said that this kind of tourist does not received the attention due to him.
Bord Failte in the past few years has warned us, and chiefly hoteliers, that our view of a typical tourist as a “rich, camera-dangling, cigar-puffing Yank” is away out. The hoteliers, since it is they who benefit directly from the tourist industry, should be the first to begin to cater for the real “typical tourist”. In many cases they are doing all they can but a lot remains to be done.
Now that we know what our tourist is really like, we should have a good idea of how to change the situation. A way of providing indoor entertainment at each holiday centre is of paramount importance. More hotels are needed. Our tourists will undoubtedly spend more if holidays can be made more economical, thus the need for cheaper accommodation.