The Irish tourism and hospitality sector experienced a revenue decline of approximately 85% in 2020 and 150,000 jobs were lost in the sector last year, according to Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) chief executive Eoghan O'Mara Walsh.
As reported by rte.ie, speaking RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio show, O'Mara Walsh said, "Since early March, we've had next to no international tourists, which make up 75% of the tourism economy.
"The domestic market had a little bit of a respite over the summer months, but they were a few very short weeks, and there's been a series of yo-yo lockdowns since then."
International Tourism Recommencement Hopes
O'Mara Walsh stated that the loss of overseas tourism last summer was "catastrophic", and that if there is a loss of overseas tourism again in the summer of 2021, it will be "terminal" for the industry. He asserted, "We really need international travel and tourism to recommence - we hope by the second quarter of 2021."
He continued, "We recently did a survey of tourism and hospitality stakeholders, and there was a hope that the second quarter would see a commencement of international travel into the country, and then we'd get a fairly vibrant third and fourth quarters."
Number And Recovery Expectations
However, O'Mara Walsh added that it is expected that the tourism industry will only experience approximately 50% of 2019's numbers this year, even if all goes well, and that ITIC members, which include hotels, airlines, attractions, ferry companies and other hospitality businesses, are predicting that the industry will not experience a full recovery until 2024 or 2025.
Brexit Trade Deal
O'Mara Walsh also said that ITIC welcomes the Brexit trade deal between the UK and Europe, and that the deal adds to the cautious hope for this year.
Additionally, O'Mara Walsh stated that the Stay and Spend scheme needs to be redesigned and relaunched, and stated, "The domestic market needs to be stimulated with a consumer-friendly voucher scheme for every household to be redeemed against any tourism and hospitality business operating throughout the country."
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.