Fáilte Ireland launches campaign to tackle staff shortages

A national campaign to address staffing shortages in the tourism and hospitality sectors is launched today by Fáilte Ireland.

The €700,000 marketing campaign will run across national radio, print media, online platforms and social media.

The aim of the initiative is to attract more people to jobs in the sector as the tourism industry faces the busiest season of the calendar year.

The campaign will target people aged 16 to over 60, with a particular focus on retirees and parents who, according to research by Fáilte Ireland, are looking for flexible working arrangements and arrangements.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, tourism provided 260,000 jobs in Ireland and in some parts of the country provided up to 1 in 5 jobs.

It is understood that many people who previously worked in the industry may have retrained and gone to work in other sectors during the pandemic.

Many may also have left the country to return to their home countries for the duration of the pandemic.

According to the Tourism Development Authority, current recruitment and skills challenges are hampering the sector’s ability to recover, putting small businesses and rural businesses in particular at risk.

“The loss of skilled workers and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff is the greatest obstacle to the recovery of the tourism sector after the pandemic,” said Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland.

“Tourism is a vital part of the national economy, with a reputation for providing employment opportunities in communities across the country, particularly in rural and regional areas,” said- he added.

Fáilte Ireland’s sector development director, Jenny de Saulles, said the urgency of staff and skills shortages is heightened as the industry faces the busy summer season.

“Fáilte Ireland is working closely with industry on a range of initiatives to help businesses access talent pools, stand out in a competitive market and rebuild skills that have been lost during the pandemic,” she explained.

Continued momentum in the sector

Separately, the Confederation of the Irish Tourism Industry’s Monthly Tourism Scorecard in association with the AIB showed continued momentum of recovery in the tourism sector.

Data from April shows total arrivals down 21% from the same month in 2019 – the last “normal” year for the industry.

Continental Europe was the best performer, with business volumes down 15% compared to 2019.

Shannon Airport reportedly had a particularly strong month, down just 4% from the same period in 2019, partly due to the restoration of major transatlantic services.

The report notes that significant cost pressures are impacting the industry with inflation four times higher than in 2019. Oil prices have climbed 47%.

The ITIC estimates that the full recovery of the tourism sector will not be achieved before 2026 with the war in Ukraine, inflation and labor shortages among the main risks to the recovery.

“Competitiveness will be key for tourism businesses in the months ahead and the government must stay the course in terms of supporting the tourism industry which has been the economic sector hardest hit by the pandemic,” Eoghan said. O’Mara Walsh, CEO of the Confederacy.

He welcomed the government’s extension of the 9% VAT rate on tourism and hospitality services until February next year.

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