A factor analysis of the North American coach tour sector in Ireland

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Ryan, Marie
Deegan, Jim
Moloney, Richard
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Dublin Institute of Technology
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The Irish Tourism Industry has achieved remarkable growth over the last two decades. Overseas tourist arrivals have increased from 1.95 million in 1985 to 8.00 million in 2007, before falling back to 7.80 million in 2008 (CSO, 2009). Following a lengthy period of growth, the Irish tourism industry experienced a severe downturn triggered by the current global economic crisis. Despite these conditions, the Irish tourism industry remains one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors generating almost €5.0 billion in foreign exchange earnings (approximately 4% to Gross National Product). The tourism industry is at a critical juncture. It must try to ensure the industry weathers the current recession. Competing effectively for business by correctly targeting consumers when the global economy improves, will shape the future of Irish tourism activities. As tourism has grown and becomes more competitive, the country’s interest in attracting its share of visitors has also grown (Sheehan, Ritchie & Hudson, 2007). The potential of the North American coach market provides an interesting opportunity for the industry. Factor analysis is used to identify crucial marketing information. Irish tourism policymakers have limited knowledge of the type of North American tourists who visits here. The information that currently exists is primarily due to research carried out by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland’s Survey of Travellers. Ward noted there is a need for empirical work in this area as it “would be particularly insightful for the Irish tourism industry” (2006, p. 434), since destination choices available to consumers today have proliferated (Pike, 2005). This chapter reports factor analysis results based on the North American coach tourist. By analysing important travel behaviours and the character types of the North American coach tourist, seven future potential coach market niches are identified. The chapter contributes to the issues raised in the New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for Action (2003), by way of establishing the factors that encourage and discourage North American coach tourists to go on holiday as well as establish their personality traits. The chapter is organised as follows: Section 2, examines the North American tourist in Ireland. Section 3 describes the methodology. Section 4 presents the findings of the research. Finally, the chapter concludes with a summary and policy implications.
Ireland , Tourism , North American tourist , North American coach tourists
Ryan, M., Deegan, J. and Moloney, R. (2010) 'A factor analysis of the North American coach tour sector in Ireland', in Gorham, G. and Mottiar, Z. (eds.) Contemporary Issues in Irish and Global Tourism and Hospitality. Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology, pp. 150-164. Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/tfschhmtbook/15 (Accessed: 26 March 2024)
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