Irish tourism groups seek budgetary support in 2022

Published on : Friday, October 1, 2021

Three groups representing inbound tourism have urged the Government to extend Covid-19 supports by six months to avoid risking the loss of a potential €2.7 billion return to the Irish economy.


The Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO), the Inbound Tour Operators Association (ITOA) and the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) submitted their pre-budget submission today.


The groups have called on the Government to invest an additional €10m into a Business Continuity scheme for the sector to help secure the future of their industry to transition from survival to recovery next year.


AIPCO, ITOA and IGTOA say their industry has been disproportionately affected by the duration of restrictions on global travel and tourism.


The inbound tourism sector is in the middle of one of the economy’s longest periods of Covid disruption, with trade for member businesses down by an average of 95 per cent.


The associations’ members estimate that business worth €2.7 billion is deliverable from 2022 to 2024 as overseas visitors return to Ireland for business and leisure trips.


These businesses support 1,200 direct jobs and approximately 25,000 indirect jobs across the tourism industry.
They also have maintained connections with 5,500 global trade partners who will bring visitors back to Ireland once the public health crisis abates.


Patricia McColgan of AIPCO said its members have worked for decades to build up that valuable network of international contacts.


“Ireland offers them a fantastic destination for professional business events with top class venues and wonderful leisure and tourism amenities. The real fear is that the long wait for a safe resumption of these events will prove too much for many inbound tourism businesses,” Ms McColgan said.


“They will not survive without support and those international opportunities will go elsewhere,” she warned.


Rob Rankin of the ITOA said that unbound tour operators deliver high value holiday-maker and business tourists who stay longer and spend more in every region sustaining jobs and livelihoods that contribute massively to the economy.


“Our members had no need of exceptional government support before the pandemic and annually collectively invested €12.5m marketing Ireland overseas. Given the long lead nature of our business and international travel restrictions we can’t even begin to recover until 2022,” Mr Rankin said.


Denis Kane of the IGTOA said that his organisation plan a year or more in advance and must coordinate and comply with international requirements.


“The €10m we are asking the Government to invest is a tiny percentage of the €2.7 billion pipeline that we can deliver once back up and running,” he stated.


“Our businesses, if properly supported, can once again bring those valuable international tourists and their spend back to tourism and hospitality businesses across Ireland,” he added.

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