Addressing the Irish Hotel Federation's annual conference in Killarney on Tuesday March 5, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly appealed to hotels and other tourism businesses to step up their efforts to diversify into newer markets ahead of Brexit.
"Prepare And Diversify"
Kelly stated, "While it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of impacts that Brexit will have, our key message to tourism businesses is 'prepare and diversify'. Any tourism business which does not have Brexit contingencies as a central focus of its 2019 business plan needs to act fast. To help businesses to prepare, Fáilte Ireland is investing €5 million this year to support the tourism sector in its preparations. This marks a significant ramping up of our activities to ensure Irish tourism is both 'product-ready' and 'industry-ready' ahead of Brexit.
"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 has developed a comprehensive Brexit response programme designed to support tourism businesses in an innovative and accessible manner, and to ensure businesses are ready to meet the challenge."
The Need To "Be Prepared For Any And All Contingencies"
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Meanwhile, Irish Hotels Federation president Michael Lennon commented, "As the deadline for Brexit approaches, it is still unclear what the outcome will be or if the deadline will be met, or if we have a disorderly Brexit. However, we cannot stand still and, no matter what happens, our sector must be prepared for any and all contingencies. Businesses need to assess the risks associated with reliance on the UK market, respond to changes quickly and look at marketing themselves to newer markets or, indeed, other sectors within existing markets. As a member of the Fáilte Ireland Brexit Advisory Group, the IHF welcomes the 2019 Brexit response programme and initiatives which will assist in addressing some of the challenges and issues Brexit is causing."
© 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.