Kilkenny was recently revealed as the region hardest hit by the decline of domestic tourism during the pandemic following the findings of a new report by Fáilte Ireland.
The report showed that the number of domestic trips made to Kilkenny plummeted from 387,000 in 2019 to just 93,000 in 2021 — a 76% drop.
The domestic tourism spend in Kilkenny also dropped by 67% from €48 million to €16 million during the same period.
In 2019, Kilkenny was the 11th most visited region in Ireland but the county fell to 20th position in 2021.
President of Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce, Brian Keyes, described the findings in the report as ‘no surprise’.
“Kilkenny is very dependent on domestic tourism and as this report shows, people were drawn more towards coastal counties during the pandemic,” he said.
Despite this, the Chamber President acknowledged that ‘things are beginning to look up’.
“Domestic tourism in Kilkenny is currently at about 80% of 2019 levels but it might take until 2025 before we see a full recovery,” he added.
Mr Keyes emphasised that in order to keep the recovery on track, “the hospitality sector needs support, particularly in relation to the VAT rate with the Budget looming on the horizon.”
The latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) further confirms that the national domestic tourism market is bouncing back strongly this year.
Total spend on domestic trips in Q1 2022 was €471 million, up 30% on 2020.
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