Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain (uncharitably dubbed ‘PIGS’) have taken a beating in the economic crisis, with heavy bailouts from the rest of the EU. This may, then, raise warning flags in investors’ minds when it comes to business in these countries, but treating them all as one risky area would be an imprudent generalization. Ireland in particular is showing various indications that a savvy entrepreneurial spirit could find appealing.
To say that the internet has changed the investment playing field would be a massive understatement. When dealing with online business it is important to do your research, and keep an eye on recent developments. In Ireland, internet adverting has outstripped all predictions and grew by 13.5% last year, according to IAB Ireland. This is not the kind of figure you would expect from a supposedly stagnating economy, and hints at a real opportunity. One of the reasons for this is likely to be the rapid increase in broadband usage throughout the county, with research specialists Red C reporting that the average users spends 19.1 hours online per week. This is a tremendous customer base, and any business that can successfully reach out and make use of this opportunity is in with a real chance of real profit.
But is not just the online sector that looks promising. The Emerald Isle continues to be a very popular tourism spot, attracting nature lovers and city breakers alike. Flights to Dublin are always in demand, and tourists flood to the city for culture and night life, with Ryanair of course taking a lion’s share. The hotel and restaurant business has enjoyed good profits also, and with Dublin’s reputation for some of the wildest weekends in Europe, this success is likely to continue. Ferry travel is also booming, with a new direct service to France set up by Irish Ferries earlier this year, also adding a new source of potential custom.
Travel abroad, from the Irish themselves has seen a bit of a dip. Duas Quintas, a B&B in Portugal, says they have seen a dip in the number of Irish visitors since the start of the recession, as more and more Irish families opt for a ‘staycation’ rather than traveling abroad. The reduction in the number of people leaving the country however hasn’t affected the number of tourists continuing to visit.
Ireland may have suffered in the hard economic times of the past couple of years, but there is no doubt at all that it holds tremendous potential for those who can spot it. It may not be a quick road to recovery, but the a little luck of the Irish this is a country which will undoubtedly see better financial times once more. Being part of that process as an investor could be a truly special chance.
James writes for Skyscanner.net, a flights comparison company who compare flights to Ireland from airports around the world.