Newstalk
Newstalk

12.21 18 Jan 2019


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The tourism body Fáilte Ireland is to invest €5m to support the sector, as it prepares for Brexit.

It marks a significant ramping up of activities to ensure Irish tourism is ready ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

The programme will help businesses assess the risk, respond to changes and diversify into other markets.

It focuses primarily on border counties and the south east region, which Fáilte Ireland said have been most adversely affected by the devaluation of sterling and drop in UK visitors.

As well as providing support for over 1,000 businesses across the country, it will also deliver a more targeted training and mentoring programme for more than 100 businesses.

It will also spend €1.75m specifically for commercial development to provide Irish tourism operators with opportunities to sell their products to growing markets, such as the US.

Central to this programme will be the retention of the UK market - by selling Ireland as a business tourism and golf destination.

Fáilte Ireland said these two types of tourism typically yield a high number of UK tourists.

And an additional €1.5m will be spent on marketing and PR, with campaigns targeting the Northern Irish market.

Image: Fáilte Ireland

The investment comes as new figures from Fáilte Ireland show the number one concern among tourism businesses is Brexit - particularly those in northern counties.

The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Industry Barometer is a survey of more than 500 tourism businesses nationwide.

It revealed that seven out of 10 of tourism businesses cite Brexit as their top concern - this figure rises to 80% for accommodation providers in northern counties, and 90% in the restaurant sector.

More than 3.4 million British tourists, on average, holiday in Ireland every year and spend up to €1.6bn.

This contributes more than €233m annually to the exchequer.

Fáilte Ireland has warned that the fallout from a hard Brexit could cost more than €380m to the sector.

Fáilte Ireland's chief executive is Paul Kelly: "As we await the final outcome of Brexit, and with the situation changing on a daily basis, it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of impacts that Brexit will have.

"Our key message to tourism businesses is 'prepare and diversify'.

"Any tourism business which does not have Brexit contingencies as a central focus of its 2019 business plan needs to act fast.

"The most prudent action we can take as a sector is to be ready for the challenges it will bring."


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