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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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# tourism recovery
Staff shortages identified as major challenge as tourism sector hopes to rebound from pandemic
Nearly one in three businesses said they may have to close if recruitment challenges aren’t resolved.

FÁILTE IRELAND UNVEILED its priorities for the year ahead at an event attended by representatives from the tourism and hospitality sectors at the Convention Centre in Dublin today.  

The tourism authority aims to double its domestic marketing investment to €10 million – compared to 2019 – in a bid to drive short breaks year-round.

It also plans further investment in the digital presence of tourism businesses and strategies for Ireland’s four regional markets (the Ancient East, Hidden Heartlands, Dublin and Wild Atlantic Way).

Tourists from overseas are forecast to return in droves, based on air access being projected to be 83% of what it was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Fáilte Ireland also presented research highlighting the stresses staffing and skills shortages are placing on the tourism and hospitality sector.

A total of 30% of businesses surveyed said they could face closure if recruitment challenges aren’t resolved.

Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly warned that staffing and competitiveness are the two most significant challenges facing the recovery of tourism this year.

“The pandemic has had a profound impact on the industry’s skill base, with a mass exodus of workers into other industries that reopened earlier,” Kelly said.

“Today marks what we hope will be the transition from survival to a sustained and sustainable recovery.

“Tourism is a building block for regional balance and a critical contributor to social cohesion. It is essential for creating sustainable communities and a significant generator of jobs in regional and rural Ireland.

“As a critical part of the national economy, only when tourism recovers can there be a nationwide recovery,” the tourism chief concluded.

The tourism body has set up initiatives to address the industry’s immediate recruitment efforts, including supports on how to advertise roles effectively and onboard recruits successfully. 

Fáilte Ireland suggested last week that the industry was experiencing a recruitment crisis, with 40,000 vacancies arising from the impact of the pandemic.

But Ciarán Nugent of the Nevin Economic Research Institute told The Journal that he is not convinced there is a crisis, saying reports claiming this are likely to be “overblown”.

“40,000 vacancies – that’s a huge, massive claim about demand in the sector,” he said.

“Considering we’re likely not going to get the same amount of tourism this summer, I’m wondering where this demand has come from, especially given that employment numbers returned [to normal] in July 2021.”

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