• Cyril McAree

Fáilte Ireland Launches ‘Get Brexit Ready’ Programme to Enable Tourism Sector to Sustain Growth

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, today unveiled ‘Get Brexit Ready’, a suite of industry supports designed to help businesses at risk or already struggling with the loss of trade created by Brexit. The programme allows individual businesses to self-assess their exposures and risks and provides a range of interventions to match their needs. Underlining the necessity for the programme, by the end of this year, Fáilte Ireland estimates that Brexit will have meant 300,000 less British trips here which, taken in isolation, would represent €88m in revenue and an estimated 1,900 tourism jobs lost had the fall in British numbers not been compensated by a strong performance in other markets.

Today’s programme launch was accompanied by the unveiling of a dedicated ‘Get Brexit Ready’ web presence which will be the Fáilte Ireland one-stop shop for all the relevant information and insights that businesses will need – from development supports and training programmes to insights and market intelligence. The web portal will also include ‘Brexit-check’ - an online tool whereby an individual business can input their own data to determine how Brexit ready they are - as well as links to a series of market insights, tips and research to help tourism operators to recalibrate their businesses appropriately to navigate through Brexit related uncertainty in Britain and other markets.

Welcoming Fáilte Ireland’s approach, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., today said:

“This is a very welcome initiative by Fáilte Ireland – tailored to the needs of many tourism businesses struggling with the fall out of Brexit. The tourism environment has changed. We have less British visitors coming to Ireland and to compound that Britain has become more attractive as a destination for visitors that Ireland is also competing for. Tourism businesses will need to diversify and reposition if they are to adapt to the evolving trading climate and I am confident that this suite of Fáilte Ireland initiatives will help them do that.”

Today’s ‘Get Brexit Ready’ is based on four key pillars, positioning tourism businesses to be:

  • Brexit ready – working with businesses to assess their exposure to market uncertainty and their current competitiveness (including the Brexit Readiness Check as well as revenue and sales channel management);

  • Battling for Britain – assisting businesses to target best prospects in the UK and identify new opportunities there (including tactical pricing initiatives and bundled offerings, the identification of best prospects and aligning with Tourism Ireland’s marketing and promotions in the British market);

  • Spreading the risk – working with businesses which are over-exposed to the British market to diversify their trade and win business in Europe, North America and new and growing markets like China;

  • Fighting fit – providing the training and skills supports for tourism professionals to succeed in a Brexit environment (including a dedicated international sales development programme, a series of Brexit focussed executive management programmes, training for service excellence and the ongoing sharing of the necessary research, trends and insights to inform business plans).

Further details of the ‘Get Brexit Ready’ Programme can be accessed HERE. To see some examples of how Fáilte Ireland’s programme can help, please click HERE. Fáilte Ireland will be rolling out the initial phase of the programme in an initial €1m package of interventions for up to 1,000 businesses in Q4 this year - with further supports and budget to be earmarked for 2018.

Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly today emphasised: “It is clear that the volatility generated by Brexit during the last year would have led to significant revenue and job losses had our other traditional markets, particularly the US, not performed so well. We cannot always assume that other markets will continue to compensate in this fashion – particularly as we now face a challenge in those markets from a British tourism product made much more competitive by the lower Sterling value.

“The ongoing Brexit volatility underlines the extent to which tourism can be at the mercy of external factors beyond our control. However, we can meet our current challenges by working on those things which remain within our control - our visitor experiences, competitiveness, capacity and skills. To ensure this, today we are unveiling this essential programme designed to support tourism businesses in an innovative and accessible manner.”

Beyond business supports, Mr Kelly pointed to a number of additional operational programmes where Fáilte Ireland was also working with businesses and travel trade to maintain a growth-friendly environment to allow the tourism industry weather an uncertain Brexit environment.

In particular he cited:

  • Cross Border Itinerary Competition - Fáilte Ireland launched a competition, in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, enticing domestic tour operators to develop new itineraries along the border counties in both the Rep. of Ireland and in Northern Ireland which led to seven new itineraries across the Northern stretch of the island being developed;

  • Wild Atlantic Way Golf Campaign in Britain - Fáilte Ireland are working with 22 industry partners in the Northern counties of the Wild Atlantic Way in an effort to target growth in GB golf visitors via the air services into Ireland West Airport Knock;

  • Luxury Markets - Fáilte Ireland is currently conducting research to develop a ‘luxury strategy’ to target growth in numbers from this lucrative sector composed of high net worth visitors who are looking for a personalised top level trip (valued at €172bn globally);

  • Adventure/Activities - Fáilte Ireland is also conducting global research to identify the opportunities for Ireland in the outdoor activities and adventure space (a market valued at €260bn worldwide);

  • ‘China Welcome’ readiness Programme – as China is the world’s largest outbound travel market and one of the fastest growing (over 100 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2014 with 200m expected to do so by 2020), Fáilte Ireland has launched this programme, in partnership with Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, to position tourism businesses to be attractive to the Chinese traveller, learning to successfully adapt their products and services to them and communicating their ability to do so to selected Chinese tour operators and self-organized travellers;

  • Golf Retention and growth – in order to retain our golf tourism market share (worth approximately €100m annually to our economy) from the Britain and North American markets, Fáilte Ireland will deliver a number of marketing platforms - in partnership with key golf tour operators and Tourism Ireland - as well as deliver new vehicles for promoting greater awareness of the Irish golf product in Asia.

Mr Kelly said: “We need to work every angle if we are to sustain tourism growth – and the jobs and revenue generated in recent years. This means that we need to be a much more agile sector. Businesses need to recalibrate towards newer segments in the British market or to newer markets. Fáilte Ireland will provide the most up to date and relevant training, insights and skills development to help them.”

Finally, Mr Kelly also pointed out that some of Failte Ireland’s marketing activity would be specifically targeted to maintain Northern Irish visitor numbers. Northern Irish visitors have already been exposed to both Fáilte Ireland’s spring and autumn domestic marketing campaigns for the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East and a further significant increase in spend in the Northern Ireland marketplace is planned for early 2018. Through national media buys across TV and Radio, Northern Irish visitors will be targeted to travel to the republic, particularly key border counties, in the off-season.

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