Sunday 18 November 2018

Tourism chiefs to deliver stark warning for jobs and revenue as 'no deal' looms

Scattery Island, Co. Clare. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Scattery Island, Co. Clare. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Tourism chiefs will today warn of the severe impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on the industry, raising the spectre of job losses in regions that rely on overseas visitors.

TDs and senators are to be told that there has already been a 5pc drop in visitors from Britain.

Fáilte Ireland will also brief them on its belief that there will need to be a "significant increase" in investment to protect employment if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The stark warnings come as the tourism sector is already reeling from the decision to scrap the reduced VAT rate on hotels and restaurants in Budget 2019.

Meanwhile, the Government has estimated that, overall, a hard Brexit could result in 40,000 job losses with the agri-food, tourism and manufacturing sectors worst hit.

The Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee will hear from Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly and Tourism Ireland boss Niall Gibbons.

Mr Kelly will warn that there's a "tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding Brexit" as negotiations with the EU continue. His statement to the committee says that until talks are complete it's difficult to quantify what impact Brexit will have.

However, he adds that it's important to be aware that a no-deal Brexit scenario "is very likely to have significant negative impacts for Irish tourism".

These include "significant losses in economic revenue, employment and Exchequer revenue".

Ireland would be hit as a whole, but it would be "particularly felt in some regional areas where there are few alternatives to replace the economic benefits generated by tourism".

Mr Kelly will tell the committee that Fáilte Ireland has submitted a response proposal to the Government for a no-deal Brexit that would require a "significant increase" in investment. This would protect jobs in the sector as well as the economic contribution it makes. The devaluation in sterling is cited as a major factor in the 5pc reduction of visitors from Britain.

Fáilte Ireland is participating in the Government's Get Brexit Ready initiative, and is said to be finalising its plans for 2019 to support the industry from the challenges of the UK's imminent departure from the EU.

Irish Independent

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