• Cyril McAree

“GREENING” BROUGHT HOME TO HIGHLIGHT CHALLENGES FOR INBOUND TOURISM SECTOR

A number of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions have been turned green this evening (Thursday) to highlight the plight of inbound tourism as pandemic restrictions persist. The event has been organised by industry leaders to send a clear message to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe as he prepares Budget 2021.

The Cliffs of Moher, The Guinness Storehouse and King John’s Castle are among the venues being flooded with green light across Dublin, Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Galway and Meath.

Inbound tourism supports over 200,000 livelihoods in Ireland, but the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a drop of as much as 95% in revenues for 2020. This has resulted in the loss of €800m in Ireland’s international visitor revenue, and an extremely bleak outlook for the industry.

Organisations including AIPCO, EII, ITOA, IAAT, IGTOA and SITE acknowledge that public safety is paramount. However they say the focus should be on reviving the tourism economy once restrictions can be lifted. Without the necessary supports from Budget 2021, the businesses best placed to lead that recovery may lose their fight for survival.

Chairman of the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO) Ronan Flood says they’re hoping Paschal Donohoe sees green this evening: “We know from working with Minister Donohoe in the past that he cares about the contribution our teams make to this country. What we need is support and a commitment from the government to bringing us with them out the other side of this crisis. With their help, we can be ready, willing and able to welcome back overseas visitors when the time comes, and proudly play our part in the economic recovery”.

President of the Incoming Tour Operators Association - Ireland (ITOA), Rob Rankin, said “Restrictions to the inbound tourism sector continue to have a devastating effect on the industry across Ireland. With a loss of €800m to Ireland’s international visitor revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, we need a commitment from government now more than ever that support is on the way. I hope this event inspires government to take the necessary actions and revive the tourism industry in Ireland.”

The measures being requested by the group of organisations include the provision of realistic grant aid, and increased income supports for the hardest hit businesses.

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