The report highlights the industry’s support for national and local cultural festivals and events taking place the length and breadth of the country and for our major national sporting organisations.
The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism, Festivals and Sport by Anthony Foley of Dublin City University clearly demonstrates that there’s a strong association between Ireland’s tourism image and its major drinks brands. It points out that the facilities and services provided by the drinks industry are vital elements of Irish tourism and that many cultural and sporting events rely on the industry’s financial input.
As the development of tourism has been identified as a key part of economic recovery – and given the industry’s major role in providing facilities and supporting major events that stimulate the national and local economies – the drinks industry intends to redouble its commitment to working with Government and relevant agencies on maximising its contribution.
DIGI Chairman Kieran Tobin explained, “DIGI periodically evaluates our industry’s input to Irish tourism. While tourism has declined in recent years following the global financial crisis and the deep recession, recent CSO figures show a 15 per cent increase in visitor numbers between April and June and a positive first six months in 2011.
“In this context, the drinks industry provides many important elements of our national tourism infrastructure. These range from visitor centres such as the Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction) to the Old Jameson Distillery and include city and rural pubs that provide food and entertainment to visitors.
“In fact, tourism guides frequently state that a night in an Irish pub is among the most enjoyable experiences a visitor can have. This is an ideal opportunity to promote Irish brands and products while sustaining jobs and the economy.
“In addition, many of the hundreds of festivals and events which take place around the country – and that are crucial to attracting visitors – depend on drinks industry sponsorship.
“Sporting and cultural events such as the Guinness Autumn rugby internationals, the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, the Heineken Cup, the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, the Absolut Fringe and many horse racing festivals rely on the substantial financial input of the drinks industry as title or co-sponsors.
“In these tough economic times, it is difficult to envisage who would have the commitment, the track-record and the means to fill the void should further restrictions be placed on drinks industry sponsorship.
“The Programme for Government has identified tourism’s role in the regeneration of the national economy over the coming years while the recent Jobs Initiative specifically sought to boost the wider hospitality sector. In this context the drinks industry wishes to work with the Government to identify further measures to boost this important sector.”