Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Mottiar, Z (2004) ‘Ireland’ in Morrison, A and Thomas, R SMEs in Tourism: An International Review. Arnhem : Association for Tourism and Leisure Education, 2004.


Ireland has become known as the Celtic Tiger due to average annual GNP growth of 9 percent during the 1990s. The reasons for this growth are many and varied and tourism and tourism firms have played no small part in this rapid growth. In total the sector sustains approximately 150,000 jobs (or job equivalents) amounting to 8.6 percent of total employment (Bord Failte, 2001). In some ways the tourism sector is representative of the broader industrial profile of Ireland with a number of large international firms but the majority of firms are SMEs. Both types of firms have gained from high levels of growth, increasing wealth and a rising international profile. With overseas tourist numbers doubling from 3.1 million in 1990 to 6.3 million by 2000 (Bord Failte, 1991 and 2001), most tourism sub-sectors gained and there have been a number of structural changes some of which are discussed below.