The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation has estimated that Covid-19 has cost tourism and hospitality businesses as much as €13.4 billion. This was revealed in a new report “Irish Tourism: From Survival to Revival” . The report, including ITIC’s pre-budget submission, outlines how the sector can recover over the coming years.
ITIC’s Budget submission focuses on 5 key areas namely; the need for a major stimulus package to restore aviation; the continuation of EWSS right through to June 2021; a doubling of tourism investment; certainty on the 9% Vat rate; and tax incentives for employers and businesses to create jobs.
Budget 2022, due to be delivered next month, is “make or break” for the industry according to Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC: “Government needs to bet big on tourism – give us the right enabling policies and restore international connectivity and we’ll recover creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process”.
75% of the Irish tourism economy is made up of international visitors and Andrews warned that there would be a steep climb back to health for the industry “The domestic market is important to us but it can never make up for the loss in overseas earnings. International travel has been allowed again since mid-July but tourist numbers are very modest and expected to be so right into next year due to the loss of connectivity to key source markets”.
O’Mara Walsh, said that Ireland’s tourism industry could and would bounce back and ITIC’s most positive scenario pointed to a full recovery in overseas tourists by 2025: “This is predicated on pro-tourism and pro-aviation policies from Government with no new variants or surges domestically or internationally” he said.
The business group representing all key tourism and hospitality stakeholders - including Aer Lingus, DAA, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, and the attraction sector - said that 70% of tourism jobs were outside Dublin and regional Ireland particularly depended on tourism for jobs, livelihoods and economic regeneration.
O’Mara Walsh highlighted the importance of aviation to Irish tourism: “Without a sharp increase in routes and frequencies Irish tourism will struggle to recover. As an island nation we are critically dependent on air and sea access and Government must incentivise carriers and stimulate demand.”