A new report confirms the hospitality sector is a significant component of the tourism infrastructure in Galway, with 504 pubs, 64 hotel bars and 141 fully licensed and wine licensed restaurants in the county.
Written by economist Tony Foley, the report, entitled The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism, reveals that overseas visitors to Ireland spend more than one fifth of their holiday expenditure on food and drink. The Irish Pub was the number one tourism element influencing the decision of overseas visitors to come to Ireland. In Galway, there were 1,028,000 overseas tourists in 2013, spending €308 million, highlighting the importance of the overseas tourism industry for revenues in the county.
The data was commissioned by the Support Your Local campaign which is calling for excise tax on alcohol to be cut, stating that these taxes are damaging competitiveness and costing jobs. The report also notes that the drinks industry has the potential to make a strong contribution to the success of the Wild Atlantic Way project.
Speaking about the document, author Tony Foley says Ireland's world renowned pubs are one of our top tourist draws, with many offering food and entertainment specifically for tourists.
"The regional spread of the hospitality sector, with 7,457 pubs across the country, also supports the geographic spread of tourism."
Fáilte Ireland director of business development, Paul Keeley, believes that 2015 is shaping up to be a record year for Irish tourism. "We are looking at figures this year in the region of 7.7 million overseas visitors, and a domestic market which is also performing strongly as consumer confidence recovers. Most importantly, tourism growth will be sustained and reach 10 million visitors a year by 2025 by having a number of attractive ideas such as the Wild Atlantic Way. We need everybody in the sector working together to make these attractions work. Pubs and the Irish drink sector have a role to play here to make the visitor experiences on the ground authentic, compelling, and memorable.''