The Covid-19 pandemic has cost the tourism sector here €13.4bn and 100,000 jobs have been lost as a result, a new report claims.
The study by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) says the reduction of overseas visitors has cost the industry €8.1bn since 2019, with lost fares to Irish carriers accounting for €3bn.
The lost value of domestic visits has been €1.9bn while the reduction in visitors from Northern Ireland has cost the state €0.4bn.
The analysis suggests that this year the projected tourism income will be €2.8bn across the sector, down from €9.3bn in 2019 but up from an estimate of €2.4bn last year.
It says Government supports have been vital, but they pale in comparison to the scale of the damage.
But the report, which also contains the ITIC pre-budget submission, outlines a number of scenarios for recovery, the best of which would see a return to 2019 levels of inbound tourism by 2025.
This would lead to 240,000 annual jobs in the sector and €6bn in terms of exchequer receipts, ITIC states.
ITIC claims Budget 2022 will be “make or break” for the industry and has called for the extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to June 2022 and certainty on the 9% VAT rate.
It is also seeking a doubling of tourism investment and for tax incentives for employers and businesses to create jobs.
“Government needs to bet big on tourism – give us the right enabling policies and restore international connectivity and we’ll recover creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process,” said Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC.
“Without a sharp increase in routes and frequencies Irish tourism will struggle to recover. As an island nation we are critically dependent on air and sea access and Government must incentivise carriers and stimulate demand.”