The Guinness Storehouse attracted more than 1.1m visitors last year as both the visitor centre and the wider tourism industry mostly recovered from the pandemic.
The Guinness Storehouse has now been visited by 22.9m people since first opening in 2000 and has retained its status Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction, although the 2022 number remains short of 1.73m that visited in 2019, the last year prior to Covid-19.
More than 900,000 pints of Guinness were served at the Guinness Storehouse last year, with 86,000 people being certified as pint-pouring experts, and a further 110,000 ‘stouties’ (ie selfies printed on the Guinness head) being printed on the top of pints.
Before the pandemic, international tourists made up 93% of visitor numbers, but efforts to attract more domestic visitors have seen the number of visitors from Ireland more than double since 2019 to 24%.
Catherine Toolan, managing director of Diageo Irish Brands Home, said, “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.”
Research from the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation released shows that 7m international tourists visited Ireland last year, equating to 73% of pre-pandemic levels.
The US (24%) and UK (25%) were top nationalities to visit the Guinness Storehouse last year, but numbers for visitors from mainland Europe and long-haul markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Asian countries were slower to recover.
Despite the figures, Toolan called for government measures to support tourism recovery, highlighting that the sector is worth €5.9bn in revenue and employs 330,000 people.
Toolan continued, “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.”
Source: Business Plus