New research released on Ireland’s marine and coastal tourism

New research released on Ireland’s marine and coastal tourismNUI Galway's Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released research that presents estimates on the value of coastal and marine tourism activities in Ireland for 2018.

The research 'A Survey of Marine and Coastal Overseas Tourism Activity in Ireland' was funded by the Marine Institute through the National Marine Research Programme as part of a larger project aimed at 'Valuing and understanding the dynamics of Ireland's Ocean Economy'.

Tourism and leisure is one of the key industries contributing to Ireland's ocean and coastal economies, however there is a gap nationally and internationally in trying to assess its value specific to marine and coastal areas.

Dr Niall McDonough, Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Support Services at the Marine Institute said, "Tourism and Leisure is one of the 15 research themes outlined in Ireland's National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy. This report by SEMRU provides useful information to stakeholders and policy makers on the value and growth potential of this activity, which is so reliant on our rich coastal and marine resource.

"An analysis of research maturity, completed as part of developing the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy, showed a gap in research capability in the area of tourism and leisure. "These findings by SEMRU increase our knowledge in this area," explained Dr McDonough. "As research in higher education institutions in Ireland is limited, however, the Marine Institute has also included a potential fellowship in its recent Post-Doctoral Fellowship Call."

The new research published by SEMRU indicates that €1.94 billion was spent by overseas visitors holidaying in Ireland in coastal areas in 2018, while marine tourism generated €650 million. Activities such as coastal sightseeing, beach and island visits and walking, running and cycling along the coast are popular amongst overseas visitors.

There was an estimated 7.9 million overseas visitors to Ireland in 2018, who came as holiday makers or for the purpose of visiting friends/family. Based on the results of the survey, 76% of overseas visitors to Ireland are estimated to have visited a coastal area and 61% are estimated to have participated in a marine-related leisure activity. The average total expenditure per travelling party of overseas visitors in the sample was €1,630 with the average trip lasting seven days. Of this, an estimated €699 was spent in coastal areas.

The results also indicated that overseas visitors participate in coastal and marine tourism activities largely on the west coast of Ireland. Co Kerry, Co Galway and Co Clare the leading counties, in that order, for participation by overseas visitors in coastal and marine tourism activities.

SEMRU's research on Marine and Coastal Overseas Tourism Activity in Ireland was supported by the Marine Institute and funded by the Marine Research Sub-Programme PBA/SE/16/01 'Valuing and understanding the dynamics of Ireland's Ocean Economy'.

The full report can be accessed from the SEMRU website at



Marine Institute

The Marine Institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. The Marine Institute provides government, public agencies and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland's marine resources.

National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021

Published in 2017, the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 focuses on the broad topics identified in existing Government policies and strategies and provides a framework that recognises the complexity of research funding in the marine domain

Marine Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship Call 2019

The Marine Institute's Post-Doctoral Fellowships Call is currently accepting applications for proposals of three to five years in duration. There are seven defined topics and one open topic under four specified research themes of the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy. Topics included are varied and include: Marine Tourism, Climate Change Fish Stock Impacts, Marine Biodiscovery, Contaminants of Emerging Concern, Ocean Modelling, ECVs in the Nordic Seas, Maritime Transport Economics. The call closes on Wednesday 18 September 2019. Further details are available on the Marine Institute website at