B&B Ireland say their bookings in Clare rose 14% last year, and overseas visitors were up 18% – beating the national increase of 10% in overseas visitors.
“We have launched a campaign across the county to recruit more B&B owners to meet the demand”, said local B&B Ireland member Michael Webb.
Mr Webb says booking revenue into Clare, for the first quarter between January and March, is up 10%, which further reinforces the demand for B&B properties here.
“B&B Ireland alone had over 10,500 bookings in the county last year – that’s up over 1,000 bookings on the year before”, says Michael, who’s the owner of the 4 star Glocca Morra B&B, in Killaloe. Michael attributed the phenomenal success of 2016 to a combination of factors.
“There is a major increase of USA visitors due to the favourable exchange rate; flying into Shannon Airport as opposed to Dublin Airport is much easier and is the gateway to the West of Ireland. There is also a rising international awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way in markets like Scotland, England and France, which have direct flights to Ireland.”
“In addition, the Cliffs of Moher continue to be the most visited natural tourist attraction on the island, and Lough Derg and local traditional music also attract a lot of visitors. We are optimistic about greater growth in 2017, particularly if we can supply the demand for B&B accommodation in the Clare region.”
“As Ireland’s leading B&B representative body, we work with over 100 tourism & travel trade partners – such as ferry lines and tour operators – to promote the B&B product at home and abroad,” says B&B Ireland’s chief executive Helena Healy. “That’s in addition to our dedicated website bandbireland.com. This creates a unique channel of business for B&B owners. For example, North America is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland, and some 70% of North American people book their holidays through a travel agent or tour operator. This means that the kind of trade arrangements we have in North America and other overseas destinations are important for B&B Ireland, in reaching and influencing prospective visitors.”
Ms Healy says demand for B&B Ireland accommodation exceeds supply in popular destinations like Clare, “and we would encourage B&B owners to take advantage of our booki