The summer, while not back to 2019 levels, was a good season for the industry. Although many Irish people travelled abroad, the domestic market remained strong and we started to welcome back international visitors across both leisure and business. Many of our festivals and events returned, increasing footfall for local businesses and supporting jobs and revenue generation.
However, looking ahead, the outlook is much more uncertain. Much of this summer’s business was from pent up demand or deferred bookings and as we move into the shoulder season and beyond, there is huge concern around the increasing cost of doing business, in particular energy. Over the coming months we will continue to focus on the area of climate action and supporting the industry to manage increasing costs. With the announcement of Budget 2023 approaching, we are working closely with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Government to ensure they are aware of the scale of the challenges facing the industry and to make the best case for tourism supports.
We are also continuing our marketing drive to encourage people to explore Ireland and take short breaks through our Keep Discovering campaign over the coming months. As part of this campaign, we recently kicked off a 12-week broadcast partnership with Virgin Media to showcase the variety of fantastic experiences that viewers can enjoy on an autumn or winter break in Ireland from mid-term activities to city breaks with content segments running on Ireland AM and the Six O’Clock show in the coming weeks.
And, to help tourism businesses recruit and retain staff in a highly competitive employment market, we have launched a new first of its kind industry wide Employer Excellence initiative. The programme will help to drive improvements in employment practices across the industry and provide businesses with tailored action plans and a trusted symbol that denotes a rewarding and appealing workplace. We’ve already had a fantastic response from industry and I am confident that any business who engages in the programme will not only find it easier to attract and retain the best people but will also find new ways to drive business performance.
Please read on for more information on our supports and initiatives.