Thousands of jobs in the tourism industry are at risk of disappearing without government support, an industry insider believes.
Rob Rankin from the Inbound Tour Operators Association, says the sector needs a €10 million cash injection from the Government - or else 22,500 jobs could be lost.
Speaking to Newstalk, Rankin says the industry “ground to a halt” during the pandemic and did not fully recover over the summer of 2021:
“Very sustainable, strong, profitable businesses - through no fault of their own - [have] been ground to a halt. So we just need the business support to get us over the final hurdle. Because of course we’re seasonal.
“So we’re not really going to be taking revenue as such until May, June next year. But we’ve got to keep the teams in place.”
Tourism is one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors and Rankin estimates that €2.7 billion is at risk if the coach touring industry goes under:
“Obviously coach tours are a big thing. And these are overnight, high quality coach tours that will stay in destinations around the country.
“We’re also talking about conferences, small groups; we’re talking about independent travellers, whereby their itinerary was also organised by the tour operator.
“Some people are travelling for leisure, some people as an added business incentive or corporate travel.”
During the pandemic visitor numbers plummeted; while 14.5 million people made a trip to the Republic of Ireland in 2019, in 2020 that figure was only 4.2 million - a drop of 77%.
Fáilte Ireland estimated that the tourism industry lost €6 billion in revenue last year and numbers have yet to recover; in August this year there were 362,600 overseas arrivals, compared with 2,256,500 in August 2019 - a drop of 84%.
Main image: Holidaymakers wheel their suitcases along. Picture by: Jens Büttner/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa