Tourism Minister Catherine Martin praises industry resolve and urges united approach to help strengthen the recovery
Future is bright for “resilient” tourism and hospitality industry as key figures gather for Into Kildare Tourism Gathering
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said that the continued resolve and willingness to adapt displayed by Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry would be crucial to ensuring the continued recovery of the overseas tourism economy for 2022, adding she was “very positive” about the outlook for the year ahead.
Minister Martin was speaking as she joined key figures from the tourism and hospitality industry at Kilkea Castle in Kildare earlier today as part of a one-day gathering hosted by Into Kildare, the tourism body for the Kildare region.
The one-day conference aimed to reunite key personnel from both the tourism and hospitality industry and allow them to reconvene and reconnect for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Launching the conference, Minister Martin said she welcomed such an event and the opportunity to meet and engage with representatives from across the industry.
The Minister also added that the sector has the capacity and flexibility to recover:
“The significant additional funding that I have secured for tourism services in Budget 2022 will help address immediate survival related concerns of tourism businesses, while also enabling further resilience and recovery across industry, as we reopen to international tourism and transition to a more sustainable future.”
Celebrating 30 years of County Kildare Fáilte this year, event organisers Into Kildare are the first regional tourism office to host an industry-led conference this year.
CEO Áine Mangan addressed attendees at the event, announcing the launch of their five-year strategic plan in conjunction with the Minister.
Ms Mangan paid tribute to local businesses, stakeholders and members, adding that Kildare had demonstrated “a strong presence in the industry and adapted to the climate as it changed.”
She added: We have made it through one of the toughest times that the tourism and hospitality industry could have endured and I am very optimistic about 2022 and what’s to come. I have no doubt we will come back from this stronger than ever. I hope you leave feeling a sense of togetherness again as that is what we are all about in Kildare.
Ms Mangan concluded: “Although we have really went above and beyond to make this a great event, the most important thing we have in the industry is our people.”
Following the launch of the five-year strategic plan, a panel discussion on the current issues and state of play for the tourism and hospitality industry followed with a number of key industry leaders including:
- Chief Executive of Kildare County Council Sonya Kavanagh,
- CEO of the Curragh Racecourse, Brian Kavanagh,
- Tourism Ireland Director Shane Clarke,
- Travel Writer and Industry Expert Eoghan Corry,
- Regional Manager at Fáilte Ireland Derek Dolan
- President of the Restaurant’s Association of Ireland 2022, Paul Lenehan
Panellists discussed the importance of Kildare’s authentic, sustainable tourism experiences like Solas Bhríde, Blueways, the Royal Canal Greenway and the county’s rich equestrian offering which will now gain international tourism recognition under the new Thoroughbred Country campaign recently launched by Fáilte Ireland.
The panel also spoke of the challenges facing businesses and the wider industry throughout the pandemic but were all unanimous in agreeing that businesses working together to cluster products and services to provide overall experiences for visitors can create further growth and opportunities.
Also addressing those attending on the day was bestselling author and Kildare native Daniella Moyles, whose speech, ‘Living in the Moment’ offered a detailed look into the nervous system and offered practical solutions to minimise stress in both a personal and professional capacity.
To conclude, Economist, broadcaster and journalist David McWilliams delivered a rousing keynote speech, stating that Ireland’s economy would bounce back after the pandemic “extremely well”, adding that Kildare is well-placed from a tourism perspective “once businesses are innovative and ready to react.”