Monday 24 October 2016

Record number of tourists helps create 5,000 additional pub jobs

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30

What looks set to be a record year for Irish tourism has helped create an extra 5,000 seasonal jobs in Irish pubs, according to a new study.

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Then claim is made in a survey conducted by the Vintners Federation Ireland (VFI) earlier this month.

According to the VFI, 2,500 of its 4,000 member pubs are located in "traditional tourist areas" comprising of locations such as coastal areas and the Shannon region.

Each summer pubs in these areas employ an extra 4.8 people on average throughout the traditional busier summer months, which could last from May to September although trade would tend to reach its height between June and August.

The extra 4.8 staff in the 2,500 pubs would create, on average, 12,000 seasonal jobs.

However, this year the VFI has said that the same 2,500 pubs each employed a further two additional staff this summer, creating 5,000 extra jobs.

This brings the total number of seasonal jobs created to 17,000.

This figure is based on a survey of 120 pubs located in the "traditional tourist areas". Their responses were then averaged out across all 2,500 pubs located in the traditional tourist areas.

A statement from the VFI said that the significant bump in seasonal employment is "solely attributed to the significant increase in overseas and domestic tourism numbers and the central role played by the pub in the tourism industry".

Overseas visitor numbers to Ireland grew by 12.1pc in the first five months of the year, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

A record three million overseas visitors have arrived so far in 2015. If this trend continues Ireland will be on course for its best ever year in tourism.

VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben said that the extra jobs are "real proof that the tourism trade is well and truly back and highlights its importance to local economies."

He added: "The tourism industry is vital to Ireland and in order to keep attracting big numbers like we have seen this summer, we need to provide great facilities and service and also keep prices under control in the hospitality industry."

He also called on the Government to reduce the rate of excise duty on alcohol, claiming that it would further strengthen the tourist trade.

"Maintaining the level of excise at the same rate in last year's budget was a small step in the right direction. We would urge the Government to keep the country attractive to tourists and to bear this in mind as we approach budget 2016," he said.

"The Irish pub is central to the tourism industry and overseas visitors come in their millions to experience the atmosphere of an Irish pub.

"They will continue to do so if the value remains. Now is the time to reduce excise to keep our tourist offering attractive and competitive."

Mr Cribben's comments follow similar calls made by other figures in the hospitality sector. At a discussion panel in the Old Jameson Distillery last month the president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Anthony Gray, said that the current rate of excise duty is unfair on small businesses adding that wine is taxed "outrageously".

"The current high level of excise duty is completely unfair on small businesses and I've no doubt that alcohol taxes have damaged our image abroad," he said.

Speaking at the same panel, Dublin City University economist Tony Foley said high excise duty does not solve the social problems linked to alcohol.

Irish Independent

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