Small firms call for policy on tourism

THE Small Firms Association (SFA) has warned that more than 30,000 jobs are under threat unless the Government attends to tourism-related industries.

“While the tourism industry was strong in 2007 with 7.7 million visitors, the changing circumstances of the economic uncertainty, weak consumer confidence and spend now mean that the tourism industry and related leisure and entertainment industries are now facing economic meltdown and the situation calls for immediate action.

“More than 30,000 people are employed in direct tourism, thousands more in the leisure and entertainment industries and they are facing immediate threat. Add to that countless thousands of jobs in sub-supply to these industries and the bigger picture emerges,” said the SFA’s assistant director, Avine McNally.

The association wants a wide-reaching development policy for the tourism-related business sector to be put in place by the Government. This, it said, should include “a major diplomatic offensive” aimed at encouraging people to travel and to promote Ireland as a “first choice” destination and a refocus of tourism marketing spend for Ireland towards Europe and developing markets.

“The economy has shed over 27,500 jobs since the beginning of the year, with recorded redundancies up by 43%. Employment growth for the coming year will be weak and may impact further on existing jobs.

“We would be foolish to ignore these problems because in the medium term we can no longer guarantee we will be able to create jobs to replace those that have been lost.”


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