Fáilte Ireland has unveiled a suite of industry supports designed to help businesses that are at risk due to, or already struggling with, the loss of trade created by Brexit.
The programme, which has been dubbed "Get Brexit Ready", allows individual businesses to self-assess their exposures and risks, and provides a range of interventions to match their needs.
Underlining the initiative's necessity, by the end of this year, Fáilte Ireland estimates that Brexit will have meant 300,000 less British trips to Ireland, which, taken in isolation, would represent €88m in revenue and an estimated 1,900 tourism jobs lost had the fall in British numbers not been compensated by a strong performance in other markets.
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The "Get Brexit Ready" scheme encompasses four key components, the first of which endeavours to position tourism businesses to be Brexit ready by working with them to assess their exposure to market uncertainty and their current competitiveness. The programme's second element aims to assist businesses to target best prospects in the UK and identify new opportunities there. The third involves working with businesses which are over-exposed to the British market to diversify their trade and win business in Europe, North America and new and growing markets like China, while the initiative's fourth and final goal is to provide the training and skills supports for tourism professionals to succeed in a Brexit environment.
Fáilte Ireland will be rolling out the first phase of the programme in an initial €1 million package of interventions for up to 1,000 businesses in the fourth quarter of 2017, with further supports and budget to be earmarked for 2018.
Commenting on the programme's launch, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin said, "The tourism environment has changed. We have less British visitors coming to Ireland and, to compound that, Britain has become more attractive as a destination for visitors that Ireland is also competing for. Tourism businesses will need to diversify and reposition if they are to adapt to the evolving trading climate and I am confident that this suite of Fáilte Ireland initiatives will help them do that.”
Meanwhile, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly asserted, “We need to work every angle if we are to sustain tourism growth, and the jobs and revenue generated in recent years. This means that we need to be a much more agile sector. Businesses need to recalibrate towards newer segments in the British market or to newer markets. Fáilte Ireland will provide the most up to date and relevant training, insights and skills development to help them.”