Rebuilding tourism sector requires industry-led approach
- Minister must create taskforce focused on rebuilding the industry
- Consideration should be given to a dedicated Ministry
With January the traditional time that many plan holidays for the year ahead, Labour spokesperson on tourism, Senator Mark Wall, has called for the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to refocus her attention on the Irish tourism sector.
Senator Wall said: “As levels of Covid-19 remain high throughout the country, I am calling on Minister Martin to direct her attention on the tourism sector. The knock on effect of the closure of our hotels and tourism accommodation, along with many other businesses, is having and will have a detrimental impact on our regional towns, damaging the entire social fabric of these communities.
“It is time for the Minister to create an industry-led taskforce to focus on rebuilding the sector. Tourism creates so many employment opportunities throughout the country. The industry has weathered storms before and will do so again. It is crucial that a united approach is adopted, with the help of the Minister, to aid its recovery.
“Given the severity of the situation for the sector and the breadth of the portfolio, I am also calling on the Government to consider the creation of a separate Minister for Tourism to aid this recovery. There is a fear that many working in the industry may not return, losing expertise that may never be recovered. We need to take steps to protect and maintain the talent pool developed in this sector. A dedicated Minister should focus on upskilling those employed in the industry, identifying new opportunities for the industry, and developing a staycation voucher that works.
“With the news from the Minister for Health that we will all be vaccinated by September, and as the virus gets under control, the industry is hopeful that tourism and hospitality can open much like last summer. Businesses have plans to invest in new projects which will create jobs throughout the country. However, this is based on continued Government support and investment.
“It’s time that we put a human face on the tourism industry. The Minister must act now to develop a bespoke approach to the tourism industry – an industry-led taskforce and dedicated Minister would ensure optimism for the future.”