More than 19,000 jobs in the accommodation and food services industry are at risk in the South-West, according to a new report from DCU Business School.
The report, commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), shows that young people are likely to be worst affected. In Cork and Kerry, 15 - 24-year-olds that work in the hospitality industry could suffer 6,100 job losses before the end of 2020.
Accommodation and food service jobs (including pubs, hotels, restaurants) account for 8.9% of all employment in the South-West region. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the sector provided over 30,000 jobs in Cork and Kerry, with young people constituting 31.8% of all employment.
Liam Reid, Chair of DIGI, said the drinks and hospitality sector can provide “an invaluable degree of flexibility” for young people, allowing them to earn money part-time while still carrying out other duties and responsibilities.
“Drinks and hospitality businesses are one of the few sectors in their locality where actual employment opportunities exist, the business where they first start to develop skills and qualities that stand to them forever. "
"If these businesses close for good, many villages and towns will be left with little to no employment opportunities,” he said.
DIGI is calling on the government to aid the drinks and hospitality industry by removing barriers to business and deliver a comprehensive and coordinated set of measures over the coming period to support their recovery.
“Reopening these businesses is not enough,” said Mr Reid. “We have to focus on recovery, which means making it as easy as possible to actually do business within Covid guidelines."
“Ireland’s pubs, hotels, restaurants and wider drinks and hospitality industry needs practical financial supports this year. As this report shows, intervention in 2021 will be too late and jobs will be lost," he concluded.