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Galway Races Brexit Factor

Galway Races Brexit Factor

Galway Races


The short term impact to Irish tourism of Brexit has been the sharp weakening of sterling against the euro. There has been a substantial drop in the number of UK visitors to Ireland this year as the post-Brexit fall in sterling has made it more expensive to travel.  Outbound travel from Great Britain could see a decline of over 1 million trips because of Brexit and as a result the sport of kings at the Galway Festival will suffer. The number of visitors from the UK has decreased by over 10 per cent this year so far. Last year the Summer Festival attracted 150,000 people and contributed over €50 million to the local economy. The Galway Festivals rely on British visitors to the City and is likely to be impacted more this year as competitiveness weakens. The value of sterling has weakened by more than 15% since the Brexit vote meaning that the British visitor now finds Irish holidays more expensive.

Britain is Ireland’s largest overseas market, and brought in excess of €1.2 billion last year 2016. Two out of every five visitors to Ireland in 2016 were from Britain. British consumers are more concerned with good value for money and competitively priced air and sea fares than visitors from other countries.  In 2015 when the pound was relatively strong against the euro, British visitors were the most critical of the expensiveness of holidaying in Ireland. Galway businesses must realize that overseas visitors to Galway festivals will dry up quickly if holiday costs are not competitive.  Businesses in the Hospitality sector nationally could face revenue losses in excess of €80 million this year as the impact of Brexit hits the spending power of British tourists.

The Irish racing industry, will suffer further in the medium to long term as the effect of a hard Brexit kick in. For example border controls and checkpoints would end the free movement of racehorses between Ireland and Britain. Racehorses will be impacted with border hold-ups, when travelling from Ireland to the UK. The increased costs associated with transport, tariffs, border delays and weaker sterling will all contribute to a drop in UK entries to Irish races. Sellers or selling races would be impacted with the application of WTO tariffs which would apply to buying and selling geldings back and forth to the UK after a hard Brexit. There are 16 English-trained horses entered in the Guinness Galway Handicap Hurdle in 2017.  Time will tell the real impact of Brexit on the Galway racing festival.



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