A new programme to help the Irish tourism industry cope with the effects of falling British visitor numbers has been launched by Fáilte Ireland.
The “Get Brexit Ready” plan is aimed at supporting the tourism sector as Britain prepares to leave the EU and the related consequence of the fall in Sterling.
Visitor numbers from the UK account for more than 40% of inbound tourists, but are down 6% this year. Fáilte Ireland estimates this will cost the industry at least €88 million by the end of 2017.
Most vulnerable are border counties such as Monaghan and Leitrim where British people account for over 60% of total visitor numbers, according to Fáilte Ireland.
The organisation is especially targeting the Brexit initiative at the border region, and other heavily-exposed areas such as the east and south-west, which together bring in €1 billion worth of British visitor business.
The Get Brexit Ready programme comprises a website – www.getbrexitready.com – which contains a self-assessment tool and survey to help businesses ascertain how prepared they are for Brexit.
The tool assesses the readiness in terms of their exposure to the British market and ability to shore up this business, their ability to diversify, and their staffing capabilities. A nationwide series of workshops and local Brexit-themed initiatives will follow in the coming months.
Fáilte Ireland Chief Executive Paul Kelly said the organisation hoped to directly engage with up to 1,000 businesses by the end of the year.
He acknowledged that the performance of the US tourist market, which is up by about a fifth, was a “saving grace” for the industry in the face of Brexit.
“Not only is Brexit crimping UK visitor numbers to Ireland, but the fall in sterling has also made it a sharper competitor for Ireland when targeting business from the US and elsewhere in Europe.”
“Fáilte Ireland will fight to retain British tourism business for Ireland, such as the significant numbers of UK golf tourists who come here. It is also trying to encourage inbound UK tour operators to open up new itineraries in Ireland.”
15th September 2017