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    Latest Overseas Holidaymaker Survey Confirms Satisfaction with Ireland

    Latest Overseas Holidaymaker Survey Confirms Satisfaction with Ireland
    Kilkenny's newest tourist attraction - Medieval Mile Museum

    We have published our 2016 Fáilte Ireland Overseas Holidaymakers Attitudes Survey which confirms that overseas holidaymakers’ expectations were largely met or exceeded last year with value for money perceptions holding steady.

    Some of the highlights from the research include:

    • Overseas holidaymakers’ expectations were largely met or exceeded last year
    • People, scenery and culture are important factors in delivering so many happy customers and generating growth.
    • Holidaymakers continue to rate Ireland as good value for money with 61% of holidaymakers saying that they found ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value in Ireland – on a par with performance in 2015.
    • Internet is crucial to destination choice and in-country activity
    The Overseas Holidaymakers Attitudes Survey is an important annual piece of research commissioned by Fáilte Ireland to provide insights into tourist motivations and preferences. Today’s survey was conducted amongst almost 2,000 overseas holidaymakers to Ireland during June to October 2016 and also includes a breakdown of opinions from Ireland’s key international markets. 

    Read on for more detail on the Overseas Holidaymakers Attitudes Survey.

    Meeting and exceeding expectations

    Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents to the Overseas Holidaymakers Attitudes Survey felt their expectations of an Irish holiday had been matched while another third (36%) stated that Ireland actually exceeded expectations. North American tourists seemed particularly impressed with their time in Ireland with most (52%) saying that Ireland exceeded all expectations.

    The crucial factors at play where holidaymaker expectations were exceeded included:

    Rank Reason for Exceeding Expectations
    1 Irish People
    2 Scenery
    3 History/Culture
    4 Nature and wildlife
    5 Good quality and variety of food
    6 Weather better than expected
    Almost three out of five (57%) holidaymakers said they would definitely return to Ireland with a further 39% expressing the hope to do so sometime again.  When asked how much they would recommend a trip to Ireland, most were positive but an impressive 62% of those who holidayed here said they would strongly recommend an Irish trip (i.e. registered 9-10 out of 10 in terms of the scale of their recommendation).

    Speaking about today’s findings, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly emphasised:

    “People, scenery and history are clearly core components of the visitor experience. In essence, as the survey shows, these are our strengths and it’s important that we play to them. Through our Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin brands, Fáilte Ireland is supporting businesses on the ground to ensure that our offering remains compelling and engaging. We are also working with our colleagues in Tourism Ireland to assist them as they sell our great experiences abroad.”


    Value for money and competitiveness

    Today’s survey also shows that overseas holidaymakers continued to rate Ireland as good value for money with 61% of holidaymakers saying that they found ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value in Ireland – on a par with performance in 2015 (63%).

    However, on an individual markets level, while there have been small rises from 2015 in the ‘very good/good value’ ratings from North American and European holidaymakers, the number of British holidaymakers citing good or very good value for money dropped from 67% in 2015 to 51% last year.  

    Speaking to this, Mr Kelly said:

    “The weakening of sterling from June onwards last year is clearly reflected in a softening of the British value for money perceptions. This cheaper Sterling is very much a challenge for us. Firstly, Ireland has suddenly become significantly more expensive for our biggest customer group. Secondly, our closest competitor has suddenly become cheaper for all our other customer groups.

    “I would treat the softening in the British ratings as a warning light. We need to be very mindful of future pricing and ensure that we don’t damage our long term reputation in Britain or other markets. However, value is not just reflected in price but also in what a customer gets for their money. We also need to continue dialling up our offering on the ground so that every penny spent here by a tourist is felt to be well worth the experience.”


    How is Ireland chosen?

    The internet was the most important resource for holidaymakers when choosing which country to visit and what to do and where to stay while in-country. The most-cited sources which influenced a trip to Ireland were:

    Sources for Choice of Ireland %
    Internet 53
    Friends/relatives/business associates 51
    Guide books 20
    Travel Agent Tour Operator 9
    Brochures/Promotional Literature 9
    The internet’s importance rose further when it came to planning the details for a trip to Ireland – cited as an important source by 80% and was by far the dominant vehicle when people were deciding where and what to do while in country.

    On the importance of the internet, Mr Kelly noted:

    “Technology has revolutionised buyer behaviour, sales channels and marketing tools. Digital and social media tools assist tourists to share their good or bad experiences many times over. Tourism needs to continue to embrace the opportunities digital and social media provide as we will not win in the real world if we don’t win in the digital world. Digital skills are now a core competency for anyone in the tourism business.”

    Download the full 2016 Overseas Holidaymaker Attitudes Survey here. 

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