Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and a critical component of the export economy, accounting for €5.7 billion in spending in 2013 and represents 4% of Ireland’s GNP. The derived spend is enormous for the Government with approximately 65 cent in every euro going back by way of some form of tax or levy. Tourism provides an estimated 205,000 jobs, equivalent to 11 per cent of total employment in the country.
The task for this sector and the Government is to work closely together to ensure tourism achieves a sustained recovery and lives up to its potential to act as a major engine for growth and job creation. Key to harnessing this potential is restoring financial stability to the sector, controlling cost inputs, creating a business-friendly environment and committing the necessary resources to marketing Ireland more effectively abroad.
There is indeed a need for the government to do more to ensure financial institutions facilitate the economy by supplying much needed credit to viable businesses in the tourism sector. This could be achieved on a risk sharing basis with banks and/or direct lending by Government using the banking system as an agent coupled with a more extensive credit guarantee scheme or equivalent.
Interestingly in a recent French article in L’express (June 2015) it highlighted the opportunities Ireland has over its European counterparts as a destination due to low airfares notwithstanding the high cost of living in Ireland. It emphasised the attractive social life that was on offer in Ireland for foreign students with the wide variety of pubs, restaurants, and entertainment.
In any event apart from the responsibly Government has with regard to the Tourism sector, Tourism businesses now have an ideal opportunity to capitalise on favourable exchange rates compared to sterling and the dollar. Businesses need to relook at their own business strategies on how best to capitalise on the opportunities presenting themselves to Ireland Inc. For more details on developing a winning strategy contact Pat Sutton on patrick.sutton@okellysuttoncrosby.com or call 045 530777