The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has said that the tourism community was devastated to learn that the hospitality sector was unlikely to reopen before mid-summer. Reacting to a radio interview by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, IHF president Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said that the taoiseach’s interview “has resulted in acute frustration and anxiety” and called for “an urgent review of the existing supports for the tourism and hospitality sector.”
“The implications of yesterday’s announcement are huge in terms of confidence in the survival of Irish tourism,” the IHF statement said. “Our people are our greatest asset and yesterday 160,000 tourism people who have temporarily lost their jobs, learned that their employment is unlikely to be restored until mid-summer. This is about real people and real livelihoods.”
Ms Fitzgerald Kane also warned that “failure to provide adequate supports now will have long term implications that could take years to repair. It wasn’t that long along ago that in the aftermath of the last financial crisis tourism was the number one sector in terms of job creation. Government must step up with engagement and the required supports to ensure our 270,000 tourism community can recover.”
The IHF also called the government to intervene with the banks to “ensure they have appropriate supports and engagement processes in place for our businesses and team members until Covid – 19 has been suppressed.”
Ms Fitzgerald Kane also seemed to take issue with the lack of clarity in government statements around Covid recovery, tweeting last night a call for “clear and decisive messaging as well as certainty around support measures.” In another tweet, she commented on Boris Johnson’s re-opening plan for England announced yesterday in the House of Commons and said today’s announcement by the government was a “much-needed” opportunity for clarity.