Another busy day in Ireland but instead of going to site visits, we went full tourist. We drove across Ireland early Saturday morning to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. Surprisingly, it was not rainy and was perfect weather to take in the natural beauty of the Cliffs.
I visited tourismireland.com to explore how Ireland marketed itself towards tourists like me. Both destinations we went to today are very tourist-dependent so it is important for Ireland to market well to bring in as many tourists/money as possible. Ireland considers Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and France as their main targets as they make up the majority of the tourists. Instrenstignly, our bus driver mentioned how the percentage of UK tourists has been decreasing ever since Brexit and the uncertainty that it carries with it. Ireland also focuses on what they consider “markets of the future” such as China and India. It is important for Ireland to be thinking about future markets because they never know what economic/social event may affect tourism (like Brexit).
The website seemed to market by focusing on modern trends and specific interests. I am personally most interested in nature and was impressed with the “Wild Atlantic Way” page. After reading the 2017 fact and figure tourism performance, I was amazed to see the amount of growth on all levels of tourism. Ireland hit a record 10.6 million visitors and 5.6 billion in revenue (a 3% and 6% increase respectively). A surprising 15% of tourists are here for business. I would expect that percentage to increase in upcomming years considering all of the growth and development of new innovative tech companies in Dublin. In short, Ireland has seen 7 years of continuous growth and doesn’t appear to be stopping soon.
From personal experience, I would recommend traveling to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. While I was blown away with the variety of places to eat and the quality of Sonny Malloy’s (the pub that we chose to grab lunch), I can not say the same for the shopping selection. From what I could gather, the majority of the shopping was big brands in the mall or cheap, generic, souvenir shops. I would’ve liked to see a couple of more genuine, unique shops that highlighted Galway or the Cliffs even more. Despite the generic shopping options, I would still recommend traveling to Galway. I believe all the food, people and live music make it an experience most will enjoy. I was absolutely blown away by the Cliffs. It was the type of place where even if you have seen photos, once you see it in person, it will take your breath away. I would love to take a day, walking around and sok up the beauty.
Overall, I would definitely encourage others to come and travel to Ireland. For being such a relatively small country with only a couple of major cities, there is plenty to do. All the farmland is beautiful to drive through. Despite being tired on the bus, I couldn’t help but stare out of the window and admire the natural, unobstructed beauty. If I had another week to be a tourist here in Ireland I would love to go to more of the famous natural landmarks. Places such as the Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry. The Cliffs were definitely the highlight of my trip so I would like to build off that and continue to discover the natural landmarks around here.