Government Examining Introducing Additional Supports For 'Wet Pubs'
Tourism minister Catherine Martin has indicated that the government is examining introducing additional supports for pubs that do not serve food, or so-called "wet pubs", that want to serve customers outdoors.
Earlier this year, Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced details of a €17 million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity across Ireland, which, as reported by rte.ie, the government said would provide grants of up to €4,000 to hotels, cafés, restaurants and attractions that sell food to help them to prepare their businesses for outdoor service.
"Wet pubs" expressed disappointment that they were not eligible for the scheme because they do not serve food, but while launching a new €4 million Fáilte Ireland domestic marketing campaign, Martin indicated that progress in being made in addressing the concerns of wet pubs.
Rte.ie quotes Martin as saying, "It is more complex than the dining, but I am confident progress is being made and hopeful that very shortly there will be an announcement that will be of benefit to thousands of wet pubs across the country in relation to supports."
Martin reportedly said that she does not anticipate any alterations to the roadmap for reopening hospitality businesses in June, and that she will be advocating for a reopening of indoor dining services as soon as possible, but that public health advice will have to take into consideration.
Martin reportedly said that the government is looking to this year's summer with hope and asking people to holiday at home and support hospitality and tourism businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that doing so will restore jobs across Ireland.
Martin reportedly said that she hopes that the government will produce a roadmap for international tourism this week, which she said is critical for the recovery of the country's tourism sector because international tourism revenue accounts for 75% of Ireland's total tourism revenue, and that she hopes that Ireland will be able to implement the newly-announced EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel as soon as possible.
Rte.ie quotes Martin as saying in response to being asked about the importance of getting international travel restarted for the aviation industry, "We know that that roadmap is needed."
Martin also reportedly said that she is acutely aware of the need for there to be no cliff-edge in supports for the industry, and added that the issues of changes to supports will all be examined within the context of the National Economic Recovery Plan, which will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the Vintners' Federation of Ireland has called for indoor pub services to resume no later than July 1.
The VFI stated on its website, "While the VFI welcomes the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading on 7th June, for the vast majority of its members running an outdoor-only business is not sustainable so clarity on when publicans can resume indoor trading is required this week."
In a statement published on the VFI's website, VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben said, "Every day counts for our members and they need to hear from government this week that indoor trading can resume no later than Thursday 1st July.
"After a horrendous 15 months, it's great to see the country reopen and publicans along with their staff are certainly looking forward to being part of that process. The successful vaccination programme sends a strong signal that life is returning to something approaching normal.
"This week, pubs in the north will reopen indoors three weeks after outdoor trading started there. We have said all along that pubs in the Republic should follow the same timeline, which would see our members reopen indoors by 1st July.
"We can't have a two-tier pub sector on the island for longer than a couple of weeks as already people are crossing the border to socialise. As we remain on course to have the vast majority of the population receive their first vaccination by the end of June, it follows that a full reopening of pubs should then be permitted. When our pubs do reopen they must follow strict social distancing guidelines, and we are asking government to get those guidelines published immediately so our members can begin preparations.
"Our members are looking forward to reopening for outdoor trading on 7th June, but that is only the first step. The government must bring finality to what has been a catastrophic period for the trade by announcing pubs can fully reopen no later than 1st July."
"Keep Discovering" Campaign
The aims of the aforementioned new €4 million Fáilte Ireland domestic marketing campaign, which is called the "Keep Discovering" campaign, are to drive domestic holidays for the remainder of the year and help to reboot and rebuild Ireland’s tourism industry.
Fáilte Ireland's website states that the campaign "will run across TV, press, radio, outdoor, cinema, PR and digital channels to encourage and remind more Irish people to discover the joy of holidaying in Ireland as they begin to reconnect with each other."
According to Fáilte Ireland's website, "To help ensure tourism activity is spread regionally, new destination focussed ads will be rolled out as part of the 'Keep Discovering' campaign to promote Ireland's regional experience brands - Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, Ireland's Ancient East, Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin. A suite of county-based ads have been developed to boost tourism in key locations."
In a statement published on Fáilte Ireland's website, Martin said, "I very much welcome this new campaign by Fáilte Ireland which will drive much needed and sustained footfall to local tourism and hospitality businesses as they reopen over the coming weeks. Pre-COVID-19, domestic tourism was worth €2.5 billion to our economy. It is critical, now more than ever, that we holiday at home so jobs can be restored and revenue regained in the tourism sector across our communities and counties. This campaign will have a wide reach, and I am confident domestic holidays will play a critical role in our national recovery. We can all play our part in helping to rebuild tourism by enjoying our country's endless beauty and our world-famous hospitality, attractions and activities."
In a statement also published on Fáilte Ireland's website, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said, "We are investing heavily in our 'Keep Discovering' domestic marketing campaign, which is about encouraging people to discover our wonderful country again now that restrictions are lifting. The economic importance of a domestic holiday cannot be overstated, particularly now at this point in our country's recovery, so it’s about turning plans into bookings. The tourism sector will need strong support across the country not just during the summer season, but throughout autumn and winter months. Latest Fáilte Ireland research shows 46% of Irish people plan on taking a short break in Ireland within the next six months. The €4 million investment means we can run 'Keep Discovering' until the end of the year to both increase the number of people planning a holiday in Ireland and help turn these plans into actual holiday bookings right through and long after the summer."
Fáilte Ireland director of marketing Niall Tracey added in another statement published on the national tourism development authority's website, "While we expect domestic tourism to recover quickly in popular tourist hotspots in the summer season, our cities are seeing the slowest growth in bed night bookings compared to the rest of the country and will require additional support. The campaign will feature places such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Dublin during the summer before focussing on each of our regional experience brands - Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, Ireland's Ancient East, Wild Atlantic Way - on a national level as we look to autumn. Tourism gets into every parish in the country. That's the power of it."
© 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.