Fáilte Ireland has announced that it will invest €5 million to support the tourism sector as it prepares for Brexit.
The announcement comes in conjunction with new figures published by Fáilte Ireland showing that the number one concern among tourism businesses is Brexit, particularly those in northern counties.
Tourism Industry Barometer Data
The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Industry Barometer is a survey of more than 500 tourism businesses nationwide, providing insight into past performance and future prospects. The latest figures reveal that 69% of tourism businesses cite Brexit as their top concern – a figure which rises to 80% for accommodation providers in northern counties and 90% in the restaurant sector, both of which report a decline in their business from the UK last year.
Potential Brexit Cost
More than 3.4 million British tourists, on average, holiday in Ireland every year and spend up to €1.6 billion. This contributes more than €233 million annually to the Exchequer.
Fáilte Ireland is warning that the fallout from a hard Brexit could cost more than €380 million to the sector.
"Get Brexit Ready"
The €5 million investment by Fáilte Ireland will help businesses assess the risk, respond to changes and diversify into other markets in a fresh drive under the national tourism development authority's 'Get Brexit Ready' programme. Its work will focus primarily on border counties and the south-east region, which have been most adversely affected by the devaluation of sterling and the drop in Northern Ireland and Great Britain visitors.
As well as providing support for over 1,000 businesses across the country, Fáilte Ireland will also deliver a more targeted programme of training and mentoring for more than 100 businesses in border counties.
Fáilte Ireland will spend €1.75 million specifically for commercial development to provide Irish tourism operators with opportunities to sell their products to growing markets such as the US. This work will focus on supporting northern counties particularly by bringing major international tour operators to Ireland on bespoke itineraries which they can then sell in core markets. Central to this programme of work will be the retention of the UK market by selling Ireland as a business tourism and golf destination – two types of tourism which typically yield a high number of UK tourists. An additional €1.5 million will be spent on marketing and PR with campaigns targeting the Northern Irish market and the remainder of the Brexit allocation will be invested in business supports and resources.
Positive Note Overall
Other concerns highlighted in the industry barometer include the implications of the increase in the VAT rate to 13.5%.
However, despite these concerns, the latest barometer results, which take into account the overall performance of 2018, strike a positive note overall. The proportion of tourism businesses expecting trade to be up in the year ahead (59%) outweighs those expecting a downturn. This is especially true for attractions, with 68% expecting more visitors this year.
© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.