Tourism experts in Clare are predicting a challenging year ahead in the sector.
While modest growth is predicted in terms of the number of US visitors coming to the MidWest, other issues including Brexit could also pose problems.
2019 was a mixed bag in terms of tourism in Clare.
The global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jet saw passenger numbers at Shannon Airport take a hit in passenger numbers, but at the same time, global attention was focused on Clare during the visits of President Trump and Vice President Pence to Doonbeg, as well as during the Irish Open in Lahinch.
Now, focus is very much turning to 2020 and despite hopes of a significant boost Managing Director of Shannon Heritage Niall O’Callaghan is expecting very modest growth in the vital US tourist market this year.
There’s increased connectivity from Shannon Airport this year, with new routes to Paris, Barcelona and Vienna, but while international visitors are being important, the importance of the domestic market is still being pressed.
Head of AIB in Clare, Limerick and Kerry Kieran Considine says it’s important to look at past practices to lure visitors from other parts of the county.
Next week, a tourism conference in the MidWest will see these challenges and opportunities discussed.
The Tourism Space Live, taking place at Thomond Park, will look at how, as society changes, tourism operators need to embrace the concept and develop their product going forward.
There will also be a keen focus on sustainability, and organiser Tina O’Dwyer says there’s increasing pressure on the industry to move with the times.