Almost 75,000 jobs in new tourism strategy

Incoming Hotels Federation president outlines plan to increase tourist numbers

The Irish Hotels Federation conference dinner was told last night by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that a new tourism would be finalised before Easter. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Irish Hotels Federation conference dinner was told last night by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that a new tourism would be finalised before Easter. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 01:00


Staff shortages

are a problem in the hospitality industry and there are vacancies for more than 3,000 entry and craft-level jobs in the hotel industry, a conference in Co Meath was told yesterday.

An additional 74,000 jobs could be created in the hospitality industry by 2020, the Irish Hotels Federation conference was told.

Delegates also heard that 23,000 jobs had been created in the sector since 2011.

Incoming federation president Stephen McNally said the industry could achieve an ambitious target of 10 million overseas visitors a year by the end of the decade, up from seven million in 2013.

However, he said the target would require a clearly focused tourism strategy backed by Government, additional investment in tourism marketing, greater air access into the country, and increased funding for tourism product development.

Mr McNally said an average annual growth in visitor numbers of 6 per cent could generate an extra €540 million in tax revenue and bring total employment in tourism to over 270,000. “These jobs would be spread across every corner of the country, creating sustainable indigenous local employment and contributing significantly to the export economy.”

The federation strategy recommends three priorities to exploit the tourism potential. These are: l a Government commitment to increased investment in tourism marketing and product development; l The setting up of a strategy with detailed targets focused on co-operation between industry and Government; l Greater facilitation of industry representation on tourism agency boards.

Marketing budgets
Mr McNally, who is deputy chief executive of Delata Hotels which operates the Maldron brand in the Republic, said the first step in the strategy would be to restore marketing budgets cut in the recent economic collapse. Tourism marketing fund’s allocation by Government fell from €47 million in 2009 to €37 million this year.

“This reduction was introduced despite the enormous return marketing investment delivers to the Irish economy, generating €5.7 billion in tourism revenue last year alone.”

He also called for an annual capital investment fund of €30 million to be ringfenced for tourism development.

The conference dinner last night was told by the Taoiseach that a new tourism would be finalised before Easter.