Tourism sector ‘calm’ during ash crisis

TOURISM Minister Mary Hanafin has insisted that the Irish tourist industry is reacting in a “consistent, calm and coordinated manner” to the crisis caused by volcanic ash disruption.

Ms Hanafin said Fáilte Ireland was working with the industry to draft a new customer charter to reassure and improve confidence for both tourism enterprises and potential visitors.

She said the charter would build on the positive approach adopted by the industry in recent weeks as a result of the ongoing disruption to flights in and out of Ireland.

She promised that the charter would address such issues as cancellations policy, pricing for delayed tourists, the provision of timely information, internet accessibility and the quality of services for all tourists stranded.

Ms Hanafin was speaking after a meeting with key tourism representatives groups in Dublin yesterday amid concern that the sector is losing up to €20m per day due to flight restrictions caused by eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.

“We will take every opportunity to tell our potential visitors that Ireland is accessible by air, sea and through Great Britain,” she added.

Among the groups attending yesterday’s meeting were the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Incoming Tour Operators Association, B&B Ireland as well as tourism agencies, Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.

Ms Hanafin expressed confidence that hotel and B&B owners would continue to look after customers who encountered difficulties with their travel plans.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the organisation would commit additional investment to marketing.

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