Economic Impact of the Cultural Sector
4th September 2009
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Contribution to GNP & Employment
• The cultural and creative sectors are a major sector of the economy, in terms of both output and of employment.
• Taking into account economic multipliers, the Value Added dependent on the cultural and creative sectors in 2008 was
€11.8 billion or 7.6% of total GNP.
• Employment dependent on the cultural and creative sectors combined in 2008 was 170,000 or 8.7% of total employment in
• Cultural tourism is a key element of Ireland’s tourism industry. The list of top visitor attractions is dominated by natural and
built heritage, and in addition, festivals, musical and other events attract major numbers of attendees.
• Some 3.53 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural/historical visits while in Ireland in 2008, 43% of total visitors.
• These visitors spent €2.3 billion in Ireland, 56% of total overseas visitor spend in Ireland.
• Thus tourists who engage in cultural pursuits while in Ireland are higher than average spenders.
• A total of €3.03 billion, or 2% of GNP is at least partly dependent on overseas cultural tourism. Domestic cultural tourism would add significantly to this.
• A total of 73,000 jobs are dependent on cultural tourism, 3.4% of the total workforce.
• There is a very significant showcase impact from Irish culture, which raises the profile of the country and has a substantial
economic benefit, most directly on tourism.
Regional Aspects of the Cultural Sector
• There is a strong regional aspect to the cultural sector, as cultural activity is strongly rooted in locality. Remoteness from
larger metropolitan areas is less of a disadvantage than in some other sectors, and in some cases is an enhancing factor.
• This is most obvious in the area of events and festivals and in the related cultural tourism.
• Examination of the most popular visitor attractions and events in Ireland in recent years point to a range of locations around the country, in particular along the western seaboard.
Exchequer Impacts of the Sector
• Total Exchequer expenditure on the cultural sector in 2008 was €330 million.
• Against this, direct Exchequer revenue from the cultural and creative sectors in 2008 was approximately €1 billion. Taking into account the economic multiplier effects the figure rises to €4.1 billion.
• In addition, cultural tourism directly generates direct revenue of €0.3 billion, which when the multiplier effects are included rise to €1.1 billion.
• Expenditure by the Irish Exchequer on the cultural sector is less than the average for European countries, and as a percentage of GDP/GNP is the fourth lowest among a range of western European countries.
The Cultural Sector and the Smart Economy
• The European commission has ranked Ireland 13th out of 29 European countries in terms of turnover in creative industries.
• The growth rate of the Creative sector in Ireland has been well above the European average, indicating the importance of
Creative Industries for overall Irish economic performance.
• The new enterprise model for the Irish economy – articulated in Building Ireland’s Smart Economy – recognises the vital
importance of the cultural and creative sectors, and places strong emphasis on creativity, the accumulation of knowledge,
and the development of ideas and designs as well as the application of technology.
Future Prospects for the Sector
• The cultural & creative sector is globally one of the fastest growing, representing 7% of global GDP and growing at 10% per annum.
• Likewise, cultural tourism is expected to experience growth of 15% per annum going forward.
• This compares with expected growth in the overall economy in the next decade of 4.3%; growth in the culture-related sectors is expected to be two to three times the average for the overall economy.
• Thus the culture-related sectors will be one of the key growth areas, which Ireland must tap into for economic and employment opportunities over the next decade, it is to recover from the current severe recession.
• Furthermore, on a global scale the culture-related sectors are expected to be a significantly greater part of the international economy in the future, and Ireland must make its presence felt in these sectors if the overall economy is to be competitive leader in the future.
• Future Government decisions regarding funding of the sector need to be taken with this context in mind.
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