Message from the CEO of Fáilte Ireland:

It is fantastic to see tourism and hospitality businesses across the country reopening their doors. Our research shows that when restrictions eased last summer, the economy saw a return of €843 million from domestic holiday spend in Q3 (up 52% on the previous period in 2019). Based on this, an earlier reopening and a prolonged, expanded easing of restrictions this year for the tourism and hospitality sector has the potential to generate up to €1bn in the coming months for the economy. Fáilte Ireland looks forward to continuing to support the recovery of the sector over the coming months.

We welcome the announcement by Government that it will extend the 9% VAT rate to September 2022 and the commercial rates waiver to September 2021 which will improve the competitiveness and viability of businesses as we begin on this road to recovery. The confirmation that Ireland will operate the EU Digital Covid Certificates for travel within the EU scheme from the 19th July is also positive as we look to the future of the tourism sector and we look forward to welcoming international visitors back to our shores.

Developing top-class visitor attractions is integral to the recovery of the sector and we are continuing to invest in tourism experiences across the country. Today, Minister Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced a major investment of €73million to develop four new world-class Irish tourist attractions as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Platforms for Growth Investment Grants Scheme for Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions. Fáilte Ireland is investing €44.3million of the total investment making it the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken. Up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs are set to be created and sustained across the regional economy over the next 10 years as a result of this investment and it’s expected over €290million will be generated from domestic and international visitors.

Following the Government’s announcement on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on the 29th April, our consumer sentiment research showed that intent to travel within Ireland over the coming months rose significantly, as did the proportion of those booking domestic holidays. Fáilte Ireland is continuing to drive demand and we launched our ‘Keep Discovering’ domestic marketing campaign at the end of May to inspire people to take breaks in Ireland this summer and into the shoulder season. The campaign has been met with great positivity across the country – Keep Discovering was trending at #1 on Twitter and the campaign had over one million impressions across social media during launch week. It is also wonderful to see so many businesses already leveraging the campaign. From July, the campaign will focus on the urban areas that we know are experiencing lower levels of occupancy. We have also partnered with Tripadvisor, Expedia Group, SuperValu Getaway Breaks and many others on a new online sales campaign to drive domestic holiday bookings. Our COVID-19 Safety Charter marketing campaign is also now live and aims to offer reassurance and boost public confidence in the safety of tourism businesses.

Three schemes have been launched to date under the Strategic Tourism Business Continuity Scheme and we are currently developing the next Scheme under this programme of funding. Minister Martin has also confirmed a new Scheme, the Outdoor Service Enhancement Scheme, to assist bars and pubs that do not have a food offering to enhance their outdoor seating capacity and weatherproof service areas and Local Authorities will be delivering this Scheme in partnership with Fáilte Ireland from the 14th June.

We understand that businesses are facing a number of challenges as they reopen, particularly around labour supply. We continue to address these challenges and have created a suite of supports on our Business Support Hub to help you with recruitment, staff onboarding and training.

I would like to wish you all the very best for the summer season.

Paul Kelly,

CEO, Fáilte Ireland