Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Margaret Linehan

Second Advisor

Dr. Tom Rigney


This study examines the place and importance of the American tourist within the Irish tourism industry. The research explores in detail the many facets of the relationship existing between this client sector and the island of Ireland. This study responds to the expressed concerns of the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, T.D., and relevant industry leaders in Ireland, that the tourism sector is under-researched.

This study affirms that the American tourist contributes more per capita to the Irish tourism industry than any other tourist. The essential importance of tourism to the economy of Ireland is proven by exchequer returns, and it is evident from industry assessments that the American tourist is a key contributor to this sector. In 2004, the entire revenue from the United States market amounted to €731 million and the United States, on average, accounts for 12% of all visitors to the island of Ireland, representing 16% of all holidaymakers. The typical United States’ tourist in Ireland spends an average of €850 during a stay, whereas their British counterpart, for example, only spends €350. The research acknowledges that Americans are positively predisposed to choosing Ireland as a viable holiday destination, particularly Irish-Americans, as they long to visit the land of their forefathers.

The direction of this research is dictated by the particular characteristics attaching to the special relationship that exists between Ireland and America. In order to understand the complexities that govern the motivating factors underlying American tourist interest in Ireland, this research examines the singular historical, psychological, emotional, commercial, political, marketing, and logistical dimensions that will afford us the knowledge from which deductible theories, conclusions and recommendations can be extracted. The findings of this study illustrate that destination Ireland is marketed in a highly competitive environment and the future of the Irish tourism industry will inevitably be dependent on the ability of Tourism Ireland managers to deliver viable options for consumers. We will also need to focus the attention of potential visitors on choosing the island of Ireland as their number one destination for both primary and repeat visits, and to promote competitiveness within the tourism industry itself.

Access Level


Included in

Tourism Commons