Fáilte Ireland is predicting tourism growth of up to 5% for 2019, according to Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland.
Speaking at a press briefing where the tourism body set out its plans to sustain growth in 2019 while overcoming challenges on the horizon, Paul Kelly said: “Our aim is to deliver another record year in 2019 and we forecast that growth of as much as 5% could be achieved. For tourism to continue to grow, it will need to be planned in a sustainable way for visitors, industry, communities and the environment.”
Plans outlined at the Croke Park briefing include creating a series of long-term tourism development plans for specific geographical locations, developing new festivals to lengthen the tourism season, and promoting careers in the tourism sector.
A number of significant opportunities for the tourism sector were identified, including increased air access from regions such as the US, Canada and Europe; growth in the Northern European tourist market; as well as increased state investment in industry and tourist attraction development, and sales and marketing.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., joined Fáilte Ireland to launch the plans. Welcoming the plans, Minister Ross said: “I’m delighted to launch Fáilte Ireland’s plans for 2019 – they are robust and forward-thinking, not only setting out initiatives to tackle challenges such as the uncertainty caused by Brexit, but also ensuring that we are on the front-foot in leveraging every opportunity that comes our way.
“In addition, the significant additional funding for tourism secured in Budget 2019 will play a key role in plans for the tourism sector next year, allowing Fáilte Ireland to continue to develop Ireland’s tourism offering and support the industry to both improve the visitor experience and diversify into new markets”.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., said: “Fáilte Ireland’s focus on regionality and seasonality has made major strides with some welcome new initiatives such as Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, a new regional experience brand for the Midlands, and new festivals such as May the Fourth Be With You in Kerry.”
As well as the potential impact Brexit could have on the influx of visitors from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, cost pressure for tourism businesses; the softening of Ireland’s reputation as a value for money destination; and a shortage in labour supply were outlined by Mr. Kelly as some of the imminent barriers to the tourism sector’s continued growth.