The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed the action plan for 2021 unveiled by Fáilte Ireland, together with assurances given by Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that the Government is continuing to assess the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the economy and ensure that appropriate supports are in place.
IHF Chief Executive, Tim Fenn, said that the industry is facing another very challenging year, with Government business and employment supports being fundamental to the survival of tourism. “The roll-out of the vaccines is a chink of light but the road to recovery for Irish tourism will take time. The tourism and hospitality industry, Ireland’s largest indigenous employer, has been hardest hit by the pandemic restrictions with some 160,000 jobs lost across the country last year.”
“As an industry, we are focussed on restoring these livelihoods and protecting the remaining jobs that the industry still supports. The best way to ensure this is to safeguard the businesses and ensure their survival. Last year, the hotel sector alone experienced a €2.6 billion drop in revenues compared to 2019, which gives some sense of the pressure that tourism businesses are under.”
Mr Fenn welcomed Failte Ireland’s plans, including a variety of marketing campaigns, aimed at growing and developing the domestic market. “Home grown tourism was vital to Irish tourism last year. However, with over 70% of tourism revenue in recent years coming from overseas visitors, it was never going to replace the lost revenue that followed the collapse of that market. When it is safe, international travel will resume and the overseas market will recover, but until then Irish tourism is solely reliant on the domestic market. As a sector we will do everything we can to provide people with safe, relaxing, and enjoyable breaks when travel restrictions are lifted.“
“Fáilte Ireland’s plans for training and development are also very welcome, as we work to maintain Ireland’s longstanding global reputation as a tourism destination. Tourism businesses’ teams, including those from across the hotel sector, are critical to that, ensuring the consistent delivery of a quality product.”