Press release from Meath County Chamber
Meath hospitality and tourism businesses desperate for the green shoots of recovery and are encouraged to apply for the €55 million Tourism Fund announced today.
Fáilte Irelands “Survive to Thrive” industry webinar was held on Monday the 01st of February and was joined by over 5000 Irish tourism and hospitality businesses. The main theme of the webinar was resilience and recovery, with Fáilte Ireland setting out its plans for supporting businesses and their people, domestic tourism campaigns and when the time is right- International tourism.
The two-hour webinar included a welcome address from Catherine Martin- The Minister for Tourism- in which she stressed that inbound tourism will be facilitated as soon as it is safe to do so. A focus on domestic tourism seems to be a more realistic prospect in 2021 and Minister Martin pledged that there would be no cliff-edge ending of supports for the industry. She announced a €55 million continuity fund for those sectors of the industry that did not qualify for the CRSS scheme in 2020.
Jenny DeSaulles- head of sector development for Fáilte Ireland explained how this funding will be rolled out over 2 phases. The first phase will commence almost immediately and will benefit such businesses as activity providers, visitor attractions, caravan and camping sites and cruise hire companies. The scheme opens on the 11th of February and will close on the 8th of March for applications. A webinar will be held on the 9th of February for all applicable businesses.
A list of enterprise supports were also announced at the webinar including strategic leadership programmes, strategic finance supports, operational excellence training and food and beverage lean efficiencies programmes. Meath Chamber CEO, Paula McCaul welcomed the announcement of the supports this morning. “County Meath has been hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic and no more so that in our hospitality and tourism businesses. It’s so important for these businesses to keep hoping and looking forward to a bright future and we would encourage all of them to make use of the supports announced on Monday morning”
John V Farrelly, the President of County Meath Chamber, who also sits on the Board of Boyne Valley Tourism was encouraged by this-mornings webinar. “The tourism and hospitality industries have suffered immensely over the past year as a result of Covid 19 and I welcome today’s announcement of much needed support. I am proud of the resilience shown and the continued strength of tourism businesses in the Boyne Valley over the past ten months. Boyne Valley tourism has been an unending source of support as well as helping members plan together for a robust, sustainable model of tourism in the future.”
Another aspect of the recovery that was highlighted by Niall Tracey- the Director of Marketing for Fáilte Ireland- was the outdoors. Part of the focus for regional development will be reimagining Irelands outdoor experiences. Destination town projects (Of which Trim in County Meath is participating), an outdoor dining grant scheme and an urban animation grant scheme will all help with the domestic tourism campaign. Paula McCaul looks forward to seeing County Meath on a “Keep discovering” creative in the near future. “Fáilte Ireland are releasing 10 counties at the moment that focus on their outdoor experiences. County Meath will no doubt shine when this initiative reaches this side of the Country”.
2020 saw the loss of 180,000 jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry in Ireland and a €6 billion decline in revenue. The new funding announced this week will go in some way to protect jobs in the industry but much still needs to be done. Fáilte Ireland has pledged that it is ready to go with their domestic tourism campaigns as soon as dates for reopening are announced. In the meantime, the industry waits for case numbers of Covid 19 to reduce and the hope of an efficient and timely vaccine rollout.
Connect with Boyne Valley Tourism www.discoverboynevalley.ie