Delegates at the Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AVEA) annual conference, broadcast virtually from the Guinness Storehouse , heard that the Visitor
Attractions sector looks forward to recovery next year following the Covid-19 pandemic, but that Government supports will be still needed into 2022 to assist the sector.
The theme of the conference for 2021, ‘Rethinking the Future – Towards Sustainable Recovery”, was officially opened by Minister Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, the Gaeltacht, Sports & Media. The Conference of over 500 online delegates, representing the VEA and Tourism sector, also heard from keynote speaker David Harland, CEO of the Eden Project in Cornwall, as well as a host of other leaders in the sector and from the tourism industry in Ireland and abroad.
In 2019, the estimated economic contribution of AVEA members to the Irish economy was €501 million, with a total of 25.3 million visitors. AVEA members, who employ 4,500 people across Ireland, suffered a 70% reduction in visitor numbers across 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019 levels, with a drop of 80% for Dublin based Attractions. The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has forecasted that it may be 2024 or 2025 before the tourism sector returns to 2019 pre-pandemic business levels.