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The Irish Times

Luring British tourists to Ireland Published January 2013

Sir

Your article in Saturday’s paper did not mention a major problem for British tourists. How do they get to Ireland?

There are plenty of low cost flights bringing visitors to the country, however the average family of four needs to get about easily. If they fly, they will require a car to hire and unfortunately a lot of car hire companies in Ireland have a bad name for a number of years. Customers are often “forced” to buy the company’s expensive excess insurance and other unwanted “add ons” and one company appeared to add on a “crossing the M50 toll” fee automatically even if the vehicles in question never went anywhere near it.

The other way of going to Ireland from Britain is by car ferry. Car ferry costs to Ireland have increased quite dramatically over the last five years. I have just looked at prices for a family of four taking their car to Ireland on the 28th June and returning on the 12th July. It would cost €460. The crossing takes three and a half hours.

Comparing this with a crossing from England to France that takes just under two hours the cost would be €117. The additional crossing time is only one and a half hours, but the difference in the two fares is over €340, money that the tourists could be spending in Ireland. Instead they go off to France and further afield.

Unfortunately there is not too much competition on the Irish routes and ideally the Irish Tourism Confederation needs to lobby the car ferry companies to reduce their fares to tourists instead of continuing to increase them.

As long as it continues to cost tourists a great deal of their holiday budget to actually get to the country, whatever the Tourism Recovery Taskforce does will regrettably not make a lot of difference.

Philip Suter, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England

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