Statement attributable to Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation
“Public health must always be the number one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve. However, our tourism community is devastated to learn yesterday in a radio report that the hospitality sector is unlikely to reopen before mid-summer. This has resulted in acute frustration and anxiety. Prior to this pandemic, 270,000 people’s livelihoods were supported by Tourism and 70% of these were outside of Dublin. In some cases, whole communities are built around tourism.
We are calling for an urgent review of the existing supports for the tourism and hospitality sector. If the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are now required to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover. We also ask the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure they have appropriate supports and engagement processes in place for our businesses and team members until Covid – 19 has been suppressed.
The implications of today’s announcements are huge in terms of confidence in the survival of Irish Tourism. Our people are our greatest asset and today 160,000 tourism people who have temporarily lost their jobs, learned that their employment is unlikely to be restored until mid-summer. This is about real people and real livelihoods.
Our community have been deeply affected over a prolonged period of time. Failure to provide adequate supports now will have long term implications that could take years to repair. It wasn’t that long along ago that in the aftermath of the last financial crisis that tourism was the number one sector in terms of job creation. Government must step up with engagement and the required supports to ensure our 270,000 tourism community can recover.”