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09.07.2015

HOTELIERS WELCOME NEW TOURISM LEADERSHIP GROUP

Tourism is at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy, says Irish Hotels Federation

 

Thursday, 9th July 2015: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today welcomed the setting up of a Tourism Leadership Group by Minister Paschal Donohoe, TD. Stephen McNally, President of the IHF has been appointed a member of the group, which has been tasked with producing a Tourism Action Plan for the next three years.

 

Mr McNally states that the IHF looks forward to working closely with the Government to achieve the targets set out in the tourism strategy, including plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025. This would increase annual revenues from overseas visitors to €5 billion* and result in an additional 50,000 jobs, bringing total employment in the sector to over 250,000.

 

“The Government’s continued strong focus on tourism is critical for the many thousands of tourism businesses throughout the country and is an important recognition of Irish tourism’s potential to continue delivering much-needed jobs growth,” says Mr McNally.

 

“We’ve made significant progress in recent years, creating over 33,000 much-needed jobs since 2011. However, we are only at the beginning of the recovery in Irish tourism. A lot more can be achieved as outlined in the Government’s tourism policy, building on the unprecedented levels of collaboration that now exist between tourism industry partners –  including closer coordination among businesses, local communities, state agencies and local authorities.”

 

Mr McNally notes that there is an increased sense of optimism in the tourism industry as it continues to grow market share and attract growing numbers of overseas visitors. This is reflected in the results of the IHF’s latest quarterly industry barometer** out today which show the vast majority of Irish hotels and guesthouses have seen an upturn in business during the first six months of 2015. With overseas visitors up 12% year to date, the industry survey reveals that nine out of ten (90%) hoteliers across the country report an increase in business levels compared to the same period last year.

 

The strong performance so far this year is continuing into the peak summer season with 83% of premises reporting an increase in advance bookings over the coming months. Bookings are up year on year across all key markets including North America, Britain and the rest of Europe. Following two years of robust recovery in overseas visitors, 87% of hoteliers now have a positive outlook for their business trading conditions over the next 12 months.

 

This positive outlook is also being supported by a stronger domestic economy, with home-grown tourism starting to recover following years of subdued consumer confidence. Four out of five hoteliers (79%) report growth in business levels from the island of Ireland as increasing numbers of people take holidays and short breaks at home and spend more money on leisure activities. This is vital for regional tourism and provides a boost for businesses that rely on the home market, particularly outside of the larger urban areas and traditional tourism hotspots. The recovery, however, is from a low revenue base following the downturn and is not evenly shared throughout the country with many hotels continuing to face challenging conditions.

 

Business tourism is another area of growth, supported by increased activity in the domestic economy and success in capturing an increasing share of the global conference and incentive travel market. Of those hotels catering for corporate meetings and business events, 65% are seeing an increase in this area of their business compared with last year.

 

Mr McNally states that the upturn in Irish tourism is being underpinned by a number of supportive measures from the Government, such as the 9% tourism VAT rate and the zero rate travel tax. On the marketing side, he says that highly effective campaigns from Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland are helping to reinvigorate our tourism brand and image as a holiday destination.

 

The improved outlook for the industry means hotel and guesthouse owners are now in a stronger position to invest in their business with results showing that 85% of hoteliers are planning to invest in refurbishment and product development over the next twelve months while 67% are planning to increase their investment in marketing.

 

Tourism’s Economic Contribution:

Tourism is one of Ireland’s largest indigenous industries and supports approximately 205,000 jobs – equivalent to 11% of total employment in the country. It accounts for almost 4% of gross national product (GNP). Last year, Ireland attracted 7.3 million overseas visitors and total tourism revenue was €6.45 billion, of which foreign exchange earnings in the economy amounted to €5 billion. Overseas visitors are expected to reach 7.8 million this year.

 

 

-ENDS-

 

NOTES TO EDITOR:

*Note: figure for annual revenues from overseas visitors excludes airline carrier receipts)

 

**Survey based on responses from owners and general managers of hotel and guesthouse businesses across the country and conducted at the end of June 2015.

 

FOR INFORMATION:

Eoin Quinn/Barry Ryan                                                  Dublin office: 01 6798600    

Weber Shandwick                                                           Mobile: 087 2332 191 / 085 7287 326             

 

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