Ireland’s number one visitor experience reveals insight into recovering tourism industry with domestic visitors and innovation
The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number one visitor attraction, welcomed over 1.1m visitors in 2022 – indicative of a strong bounce-back for both the experience and the wider tourism industry.
Now in its 23rd year, the Guinness Storehouse has welcomed over 22.9m visitors since opening the black gates to visitors in 2000, becoming one of the key attractions in Dublin city and a key cultural hotspot beyond solely a tourist visitor destination. However, with circa 93% of visitors previously being international tourists, the Guinness Storehouse, like much of the tourism industry in Ireland, saw performance grind to a halt with pandemic travel restrictions.
A focus on tailoring the Guinness Storehouse experience for domestic days out was a significant change, and in 2022, visitors from Ireland made up 24% of numbers – more than double the visitor volume than 2019 and years prior. Research from the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation released earlier this week stated that approximately 7m international tourists came to Ireland in 2022, equating to a 73% recovery since pre-pandemic peak levels of 2019. Top nationalities from overseas to visit the Guinness Storehouse in 2022 were from USA (24%) and UK (25%). Mainland Europe and long-haul markets such as Australia and New Zealand and some Asian markets were slower to recover.
Data also shows a growth in those upgrading their experiences (21%), with premiumisation a key trend across the industry as visitors increasingly seek particularly special occasions.
Catherine Toolan, Managing Director, Diageo Irish Brand Homes, said that innovation and reinvention were key to their return to outstanding form: “We’re so proud of these results as they represent a hard fought recovery for an industry that was under severe restrictions just a year ago.
“For the Guinness Storehouse, we saw the opportunity to re-engage the domestic audience, and we have evolved our experience to offer more to visitors from Ireland. We have amplified live entertainment, showcased more local art, and we’ve opened our restaurants without the need for an entry ticket. We’re particularly proud of the enhanced experiences we offer during three key periods of the year – Christmas, summer and St Patricks Day – so there’s plenty of reasons to visit for a great day out, a great pint of course, and a great view from Gravity bar too.
“During 2022 we welcomed John C. Reilly to Dublin as the St Patrick’s Day international visitor of honour. We hosted Ireland’s highest garden in Gravity bar during summer, and we’re rounding the year off with Christmas festivities curated by award-winning artist, GRIF. We were also delighted to be named the World’s Leading Beer Tour Visitor Attraction at the 2022 World Travel Awards – a testament to the work by the entire team at the Guinness Storehouse during a time of recovery and flux.”
Despite the strength in numbers, Catherine Toolan has cautioned against the significant challenges that lie ahead in 2023, and has called for the government to support recovery measures.
“The tourism industry delivers up to €5.9bn in revenue and 330,000 jobs each year, so it’s incredibly important to keep recovery thriving. With the cost-of-living crisis, a shortage of hotel rooms, escalating car hire costs and volatility in Europe, there is certainly a tough year ahead.
“We would call on the government to maintain the lower VAT rate of 9% for the tourism and hospitality industry, making Ireland a strong proposition and value for money destination for international tourists.”
Liz Halpin, Head of Dublin at Fáilte Ireland added, “Unique attractions and interesting experiences are crucial for attracting international and domestic visitors to visit Dublin. It’s fantastic to see such a strong recovery in visitor numbers to the Guinness Storehouse and we look forward to encouraging visitors to keep discovering Dublin and Ireland as we move into 2023.”
The Guinness Storehouse is currently hosting its ‘Welcome Home’ seasonal exhibition, which is curated by the Dublin-born award-winning artist GRIF, until Friday 6th January. Wherever you’re visiting from, feel the warm embrace of home at the Guinness Storehouse. Prices start from €31. Book early to avoid disappointment at www.guinness-storehouse.com.
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