Water-based activity contributing €434million to Irish economy

Up to 1.5 million adults in Ireland partake in some form of water-based activity, according to the ESRI study, A National Survey of Water-based Leisure Activities in Ireland 2003, commissioned by the Marine Institute. The survey was designed to develop a profile for the domestic and tourism leisure market for 18 water-based activities, and quantify its contribution to the Irish economy. It will be officially launched by the Minister for Marine, Pat the Cope Gallagher, T.D. at the opening of the Allianz Direct Boatshow today, Wednesday, 23rd February.

"In terms of economic value, water-based leisure activities in Ireland make a major contribution to overall domestic tourism revenue. The report indicated that the high level of adult participation in 2003 contributed €434million in expenditure and accounted for almost 45% of our total domestic tourism revenue during that same year", said Ann Wilkinson, Head of Water-based Tourism and Leisure, Marine Institute.

"Our coastline, seaside resorts, beaches, inland waterways, rivers and lakes provide a wide range of tourism and recreational opportunities. The survey revealed that €124 million was spent on day trips and €229 million on overnight trips. The sector supports almost 5,000 jobs", she added.

The 18 water-based leisure activities which formed the foundation of the survey ranged from diving to angling and seaside trips to boating. Almost 143,000 participated in some form of boating activity and boaters undertook 1.5million day trips and 148,000 overnight trips. This level of activity alone generated €50million in expenditure, of this; €15million was spent on equipment.

Ireland's water-based tourism and leisure sector, which is based on the islands key natural resources of 4,000 miles of high quality coastal waters, 4,000 lakes, 75 major river catchments and over 450 miles of navigable inland waterways, is one of Ireland's major indigenous industries. A similar survey was last carried out in 1996 and the seven years has not witnessed a dramatic increase in water-based leisure activities. 

The Allianz Direct Boat Show, in association with the Irish Marine Federation, aims to increase participation in marine leisure activities by existing marine enthusiasts and also new users. The show is designed to present all aspects of the marine industry and the 200 exhibitors will reveal the latest developments in sailing craft, powerboats, jet-skis, diving, angling and also educate on diverse marine activities to include "holidays afloat" options.

Over 25,000 visitors are expected to attend this largest event for the marine industry which is anticipated to generate over €50million in sales. The Allianz Direct Boat Show opens for five days at the RDS Simmonscourt on Wednesday, 23rd February until Sunday, 27th February.