The Government’s new tourism policy launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Paschal Donohoe has received a broad welcome in Clare and the Mid-West.
The tourism industry as a whole accounts for 4% of gross national product (GNP) and now supports almost 205,000 jobs – equivalent to 11% of total employment in the country, some 54,000 of which are in the hotels sector.
Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, chair of the Shannon branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), acknowledged the important support provided by the Government in ensuring tourism remains at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy and in recognising the valuable role played by tourism in growing the Irish economy and generating increased employment.
Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated that hoteliers in Clare look forward to working with the Government to achieve the targets set out in the tourism strategy, including plans to grow overseas visitors to 10 million per annum by 2025. This would increase annual revenues from overseas visitors to €5 billion and result in an additional 50,000 jobs for the country, bringing total employment supported by the sector to over 250,000.
“The Government’s continued strong focus on tourism is of critical importance for the many thousands of tourism businesses throughout the country, including hotels and guesthouses in Clare. The tourism strategy announced today is a welcome recognition of tourism’s potential to continue delivering much-needed jobs growth.
“We have, without doubt, become more imaginative in developing our tourism product and in giving holidaymakers new and compelling reasons to visit. Today’s new tourism strategy represents the next step in this journey for our industry,” the hoteliers’ spokesperson said.