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Hospitality and Tourism Sector Domestic Market Review

Current and long-term issues facing the sector

The Hospitality and Tourism Sector is one of Ireland’s most diverse and vibrant areas of employment seeing significant growth over the last decade making it a key component of the Irish economy.

Various reports value the sector’s total economic contribution at between €5 billion - 7.6 billion, representing between 1.5% - 2.3% of GDP. In addition to core primary hospitality businesses, the sector is also a significant contributor to secondary businesses and generates a €3.2 billion direct spend with suppliers per annum. While the sector employs some 260,000 workers, 71% of sectoral employment is outside of Dublin. The activities of the hospitality sector are crucial engines within regional and local economies and have been instrumental in supporting the recovery of Ireland’s more rural regions post financial crisis.

After COVID-19 widespread travel bans and global lockdowns, it became clear, almost immediately, that the hospitality and tourism sectors would become one of the quickest and hardest hit with an all but collapse in revenues. In addition to the impact of COVID-19, there continues to be a nervous anticipation of what Brexit may bring to the Irish Hospitality sector. There is no doubt that certain parts of the Irish hotel market have already been affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Prior to the pandemic, the weakness of Sterling had impacted tourism with a reduction in visitors from Northern Ireland and the UK.

There is no certainty as to when these sectors will fully reopen for business with a significant risk that unless interventions are taken in the short term, the businesses within this sector will remain in a state of distress and worse still, may no longer be viable and unable to return to business. This article seeks to highlight the current and long-term issues being faced by the industry whilst identifying options available to support businesses to ensure their ability to persevere through the pandemic.

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