Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Potential for growth in tourism sector highlighted at Summer School

Leaders in the tourism sector highlighted paths for potential growth in the sector at the Garret FitzGerald Summer School in Killarney.

YOUNG FINE GAEL have hosted their inaugural Garret FitzGerald Summer School in Killarney, during which potential for growth and recovery in the tourism sector was highlighted.

A host of leaders in the sector attended the seminar, including Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland; Brendan Griffin, TD for Kerry South; Michael Vaughan, President of Irish Hotels’ Federation; Sean Kelly, MEP; and Michael Rosney, Kerry hotelier and former Vice President of Irish Hotels Federation.

Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said that, with almost three million visitors to Ireland in the first six months of the year, the sector was experiencing growth but that “there are markets we can tap further.” Quinn then gave the Irish tourism sector a report card on its performance:

“Our individual tourists enterprises get an A grade, there is room to improve, but as survivors in this economic period, they deserve huge credit. Our Individual locations across the country vary from B to D grades, some are excellent and attract people enormously, bringing return visitors and new visitors,” he said.

“Our tourism agencies get a B3, they can provide more support, expertise and assistance while they are performing solidly. In terms of policy, I would say it passes, but we need to think laterally, across departments to get as much growth as possible for the tourism sector and I think we can and must do that properly.”

Kerry TD Brendan Griffin advocated Ireland making the most of the winter holiday market – pointing to Scotland’s success in this area. “We must also, each of us individually, work to create a good tourism experience for visitors and encourage people to visit – friends, family and the people we meet when we travel broad. Word of mouth is the cheapest and most effective form of marketing and we can each undertake it,” he said.

Both Michael Vaughan, President of the Irish Hotels’ Federation and Sean Kelly, MEP hightligeted the need for tourism infrastructure. “Facilities like a surf arcade in Lahinch would help us bring the developing markets like sporting and activity holidays to Ireland – this infrastructure is as important as roads,” Michael Vaughan commented.

“The investment in roads is not the only infrastructure that works. We also need to invest in tourism infrastructure that works, and to promote ourselves through the networks we have – the international aspect of the GAA is only one example,” Sean Kelly MEP added.

YFG President, Patrick Molloy said that the seminar was an “invaluable insight into the potential in this sector and to the contribution young people can make to this redeveloping Irish tourism”.

Read: Latest visitor figures described as ‘flat’ by Tourism Ireland>

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