Irish tourism revenue can double and create 300,000 jobs, conference told

Fáilte Ireland suggests revenue could grow from €4bn to €8bn

IHF, conference, Failte Ireland, Shaun Quinn, Killarney, jobs, revenue, Ireland

Tourists Reuben (left) and Tammy Dunseath from Florida USA in the Gravity Bar of the Guinness Store House in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The chief executive of Fáilte Ireland says Irish tourism has to potential to double in size by 2030.

Speaking at the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) conference, Shaun Quinn said revenue could be doubled to €8bn with employment of 300,000 in the sector.

"With no major external shocks, and on current trends, by 2030, I would suggest that it is feasible to double our current revenues from €4bn to €8bn", he said.

"If we did manage to grow along these lines then employment in the industry would be expected to increase from 200,000 to 300,000 over the period, with arguably more sustainable jobs".

To support this, Mr Quinn pointed to the fact that over the next 15 years the number of people travelling internationally is estimated to roughly equal the number that travelled over the past 100 years.

In other words, by 2030, two billion people will engage in international travel - an increase of one billion more than today.

Increased staffing levels

Mr Quinn said Ireland could win a large slice of this increased market - but potential growth will be a question of "from whom" rather than from "from where".

"We can achieve great growth but only as long as we accept that the overseas traveller is changing and we understand how to capture the interest and curiosity of discerning new market segments".

"To do that, we must deliver authentic and immersive experiences that stir their emotions and create great memories", he added.

Figures published at the IHF's annual conference show that strong growth in tourism continues to generate significant jobs growth in the industry.

Some 64% of hotels and guesthouses increased staffing levels in 2015, while seven out of ten hoteliers (69%) plan to take on further additional staff over the next 12 months.

Tourism now supports an estimated 205,000 jobs in Ireland - equivalent to 11% of total employment.