Friendliness, landscapes and culture all boosting Ireland’s appeal

13th April, 2015

As Ireland’s biggest tourism trade fair opens this Tuesday, the latest Fáilte Ireland research charts strong satisfaction levels amongst overseas visitors

The results from Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Attitudes Survey 2014, conducted by Millward Brown, show overseas holidaymakers continue to rate Ireland as good value for money and almost all respondents said that Ireland matched or exceeded their expectations. The full survey, conducted with almost 1,500 overseas holidaymakers to Ireland during the 2014 season, including the varying responses from different international markets, can be accessed here. The report is published as preparations are underway for Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair, Meitheal 2015 in the RDS this Tuesday.

When asked about their overall opinion of their Irish holiday, 55% of respondents said that their trip met all their expectations and a further 44% of visitors said their holiday exceeded all expectations. The top six reasons cited for a holiday exceeding expectations were:

Reason for Exceeding Expectations %
Irish People 67
Scenery 59
History/Culture 38
Weather better than expected 36
Food 26


Interestingly, when holidaymakers were asked, the most popular word used to describe their experience was “relaxed” and this was across all main markets. This was followed by “refreshed” – felt more by the French and Germans than North Americans. “Stimulated” was the word many North Americans chose and this was also mentioned by visitors from other parts of the world. The Germans also felt “excited” and “exhausted” while the French were more likely to mention “calm” and the British “rejuvenated”.


In terms of value for money, Ireland’s satisfaction levels continue to improve with 54% of visitors saying that they found good or very good value in Ireland – up from 51% the year before. To put things into further perspective, while last year only 6% of visitors found value for money to be poor or very poor, in 2007 the equivalent figure was 41%.

Value for money 2014 (%) 2013 (%)
Very Good 14 9
Good 41 42
Fair 38 39
Poor 5 7
Very Poor 1 2


Will 2014’s visitors return? Almost six in ten (57%) said they would definitely return within the next few years – almost half of these within the next year. A further 39% hoped to return at some time in the future. On their return home, seven out of ten (69%) gave the highest possible endorsement – saying they would ‘definitely recommend’ an Irish holiday to friends and family, rising to more than eight out of ten (81%) for North Americans.

Acknowledging the survey results, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe said –

“The views of those who have visited Ireland last year are very encouraging, especially the value for money ratings. Improving visitor satisfaction is a key part of our recently launched tourism policy and this data confirms that we are doing the right things – playing to our greatest strengths while remaining a competitive and attractive destination. However, it is imperative that we stay on track and maintain that winning balance of value and quality into the future.”

Today’s research emerges as the tourism industry prepares for this Tuesday’s (14th April) Meitheal, Ireland’s largest travel trade workshop in the RDS, Dublin.  Now in its 40th year, this year’s event will welcome 277 of the world’s top travel and tourism buyers – the highest number in many years – to engage directly with 500 Irish tourism businesses. Approximately 12,000 face to face pitching and business ‘speed-dates’ have been scheduled by Fáilte Ireland over the two days of the event to allow both international and Irish operators to agree business for the 2016 season.

Anticipating a busy two days at Meitheal, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised –

“Tourism is in robust health and we expect growth to continue this year. However, we are not complacent and the face to face meetings at Meitheal, along with the other Fáilte Ireland trade events scheduled throughout the year, are a crucial part of our strategy for growth in 2016. Significantly, thanks to increased targeting of those international prospects with the most potential, this year we have a strong increase in numbers, including many new overseas buyers who have either not programmed Ireland previously or have not programmed Ireland as a destination in recent years.

“There is plenty of business to win and, this week, we will be aggressively selling our biggest stand-out attractions – including the Wild Atlantic Way, the lively and varied destination that is Dublin and a new compelling proposition, based on our history and culture, in the east and south of the country.”

In addition to this week’s trade fair, Fáilte Ireland has organised a number of fact-finding tours all around Ireland for overseas operators taking part in Meitheal this year, providing them with a direct experience of what an Irish holiday can offer their customers.

Meitheal, a central date in the tourism industry calendar, allows the Irish tourism industry to actively grow its business in countries from all around the world – including Ireland’s top four markets  the US, UK, Germany and France. Delegates will also be arriving from as far afield as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.