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14.04.2015
HOTELIERS WELCOME LAUNCH OF IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST TRAIL
Initiative Offers Enormous Opportunity for Local Tourism Businesses
 
Tuesday 14th April 2015: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today welcomed the launch of Ireland’s Ancient East, a new and exciting tourism initiative by Fáilte Ireland showcasing the wealth of historical and cultural assets across the east and south of the country. The initiative, which stretches from Newgrange to Cork, was launched by Minister Paschal Donohoe, TD and Minister of State Michael Ring TD. It aims to deliver significant additional visitors numbers, revenue and jobs by bringing together the region’s 5,000 years of history and heritage for a wider international audience. 
 
Commenting on the launch, IHF President Stephen McNally said the initiative will provide an enormous boost for tourism, building on the significant successes achieved over the last two years. He said: “The Government’s continued strong focus on tourism is of critical importance for the many thousands of tourism businesses throughout the country. There is without doubt an increased sense of optimism in industry as we continue to expand and attract growing numbers of overseas visitors.”
 
“The Ancient East programme builds on this and provides us with a tremendous opportunity to attract more visitors to region. It is a very welcome recognition of tourism’s potential to further deliver for the local economy in terms of business revenues and employment growth” 
 
“Marketing in particular is an area where we’ve made tremendous strides in recent years, with targeted programmes from Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland achieving strong cut through and giving holidaymakers new and compelling reasons to visit our shores,” says Mr McNally. “The Ancient trail is the next step in this process and hoteliers are fully behind the project. We look forward to working with Failte Ireland to make sure it is great success – building on the unprecedented levels of collaboration that now exist between local tourism industry partners.”
 
Mr McNally notes that, as a result of a number of pro-tourism initiatives, Irish tourism continues to act as an engine of employment growth. He says the 9% VAT rate, in particular, has provided a substantial boot to the industry, helping to level the playing field for tourism businesses when competing with international destinations for visitors. It continues to enable the hotels sector to create much-needed employment with 70% of hotels and guesthouses nationally planning to take on additional new staff over the next twelve months.
 
The launch of Ireland’s Ancient East trail follows the Government’s recent publication of its tourism strategy. This strategy includes plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025, which would result in an additional 50,000 jobs for the country, bringing total employment supported by the sector to over 250,000. 
 
The tourism industry as a whole accounts for 4% of gross national product (GNP) and now supports almost 205,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment in the country, some 54,000 of which are in the hotels sector. 
 
ENDS
 
FOR INFORMATION:
Eoin Quinn / Siobhan Molloy
Weber Shandwick                                           Mobile: 087 233 2191 / 086 817 50 66
 
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