Donegal tourism industry urged to focus on visitor experiences and competitiveness in the face of Brexit

Donegal tourism industry urged to focus on visitor experiences and  competitiveness in the face of Brexit

From left Michael Cullinane, Harveys Point; Paul Diver, Sandhouse Hotel; Martina Bromley, Failte Ireland; Vikie Kee, Kee's Hotel, Philip McGlynn, Great Northern Hotel. Photo: Clive Wasson

Donegal tourism businesses have been urged to focus on visitor experiences and competitiveness as a response to the challenges of Brexit.

Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, has launched the first of a series of regional industry briefings as it met with Donegal tourism businesses in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran.

The tourism authority provided local tourism industry members details about its Get Brexit Ready programme, a suite of industry supports designed to help businesses at risk or already struggling with the loss of trade created by Brexit.  

Donegal Tourism operators attending learned how the programme allows individual businesses to self-assess their exposures and risks and provides a range of interventions to match their needs. Those attending were encouraged to engage with the supports and tools available and to tailor them to their business.  

Headlining the event, Fáilte Ireland’s Business Development Director Paul Keely said:  

“Brexit highlights the extent to which tourism is at the mercy of external factors beyond our control. However, we can meet our current challenges by working on those things which remain within our control - our visitor experiences, competitiveness, capacity, and skills. To ensure this, we are delivering this programme to support tourism businesses, in Donegal and beyond. We have taken care to design these supports in an innovative and accessible manner – allowing tourism businesses to continue to battle for British business while also diversifying into other markets with great potential.”

The Get Brexit Ready programme has a dedicated Get Brexit Ready web presence which is the Fáilte Ireland one-stop shop for all the relevant information and insights that businesses will need – from development supports and training programmes to insights and market intelligence. The web portal also includes Brexit-check - an online tool whereby an individual business can input their own data to determine how Brexit ready they are - as well as links to a series of market insights, tips and research to help tourism operators to recalibrate their businesses appropriately to navigate through Brexit related uncertainty in Britain  and other markets.

Fáilte Ireland is rolling out the initial phase of the programme in an initial €1m package of interventions for up to 1,000 businesses for the rest of this year with further supports and budget to be earmarked for 2018.  

Underpinning the relevance of the programme, by the end of this year, Fáilte Ireland estimates that Brexit will have meant 300,000 less British trips here which, taken in isolation, would represent €88m in revenue and an estimated 1,900 tourism jobs lost had the fall in British numbers not been compensated by a strong performance in other markets.


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