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April Industry Newsletter - Update from Fáilte Ireland CEO, Paul Kelly

April Industry Newsletter - Update from Fáilte Ireland CEO, Paul Kelly

As we move through April and with uncertainty around the re-opening timeline for the tourism and hospitality sectors, I wanted to reassure you that Fáilte Ireland remains committed to supporting the industry during this challenging time. We all have a part to play in keeping Ireland safe and need to follow the Government guidelines over the coming weeks so that we can get to a level where it safe to re-open once again. 
 
Fáilte Ireland’s priority is to help support resilience and survival in the short term and the recovery of the sector once we can start trading again. The first Tourism Business Continuity Scheme closed in March and grant payments to eligible applicants have now commenced and will continue over the coming weeks. The second scheme in this programme of funding opened for applications on the 8th April and aims to support the survival of strategic tourism transport businesses. The tourism transport sector is important as it enables visitors to access the geographically dispersed Irish tourism offering. Supporting this sector will enable a successful spread of demand around the country when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.  
 
We are also now looking to recovery and, at the end of March, Minister Catherine Martin TD. announced details of our new €17million Outdoor Dining Scheme which we developed in partnership with Local Authorities across the country. The Scheme aims to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within Ireland’s cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery, support jobs and businesses. Part One of the Scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity. Funding allocated under Part Two will enable Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.    
 
Today we also announced, with Minister Catherine Martin TD., a €19 million investment in the development of world-class facilities centres for water-based activities at 22 locations across the country in partnership with Local Authorities, through our ‘Platforms for Growth’ programme. 
 
Fáilte Ireland remains focussed on helping businesses to promote Ireland as a destination and this week, more than 480 Irish businesses from across the country met virtually to sell the best of Ireland to 216 top international tourism buyers at Meitheal, our largest tourism trade event. Each of the buyers represent tens of thousands of possible customers and the opportunity to influence their travel itineraries for 2022 is invaluable. 
 
In parallel, we have been working with businesses to prepare to make the most of the opportunities offered by the domestic market in 2021. Domestic tourism will be the first to return and will be critical for the recovery of the tourism sector. We have created a new webinar to provide useful insights into the domestic market and help businesses drive bookings when the country re-opens. We also understand that as businesses prepare for re-opening, labour supply is a challenge. We are hosting a webinar to help businesses with recruitment planning on the 30th April.  
 
Please read on to find out more about these initiatives and our work to support the sector and continue to visit our COVID-19 Business Supports Hub at www.failteireland.ie to access a range of practical business and employee wellbeing supports.  
 
 
Paul Kelly,
CEO, Fáilte Ireland

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