Irish Hotels Federation Statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications


Wednesday, 17th December 2014: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today called for more ambitious growth targets for Irish tourism. Appearing before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, the IHF presented its outlook for Irish tourism and outlined some of the challenges faced by the industry (full statement).


Tim Fenn, Chief Executive of IHF said that Irish tourism has been an excellent investment for the country and needs to be nurtured if it is to continue to deliver returns for the economy. He stated that, since the downturn, the funding allocation for tourism marketing and product development has been cut back substantially and tourism bodies have been operating under very constrained budgets.


“This situation puts the long-term sustainable growth of Irish tourism at risk. There is now a pressing need to ensure that sufficient funding is allocated. We are calling for funding to be returned to 2012 levels at a minimum in order to maximise tourism’s growth potential.


“The Government recently set out its plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025, which would result €5 billion in annual revenues from overseas visitors and create an additional 50,000 jobs,” says Mr Fenn. “While we welcome these targets, they should be more ambitious given the wider outlook for tourism in Europe. With additional resources, we believe Tourism Ireland could be well placed to meet these targets by 2020.”


Mr Fenn said that Irish tourism is recovering and is now on a much firmer footing with overseas visitors up some nine per cent this year and expected to reach 7.3 million by year end. This builds on last year’s strong performance during the Gathering and means tourism is now achieving growth across all key markets with particular successes in North America, Britain and Continental Europe.


The outlook continues to be positive into 2015 with a further 6% growth in visitor numbers expected next year, bringing the total to over 7.7 million and delivering almost €4 billion to the economy, excluding carrier receipts. There is cause for optimism on the domestic front following years of subdued consumer confidence in Ireland. Though fragile, the sector is seeing signs of an upturn in the home market with people gradually starting to take more trips at home and spending more money in the local economy.


Mr Fenn states that, while strong levels of tourism growth over the last two years bode well for the future if Irish tourism, the industry is only at the beginning of a long journey. A lot more needs to be done before tourism reaches its full potential as an engine of growth and job creation.


Some of the challenges Irish tourism still faces include the need for:


·         Additional investment in tourism marketing and product development;

·         Greater cost-competitiveness within the Irish economy;

·         Hospitality skills training at craft and entry level;

·         A more integrated approach to tourism development.


The full statement by the IHF to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications below is available here.



Eoin Quinn / Natalie Christie                        Mob: 087 233 2191 / 086 394 7729

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