Tourism continues to make a significant contribution to employment in Ireland's economy and the Government has strongly supported employment growth in the sector, in particular through the reduced VAT rate. The most recently published figures by the CSO show that, seasonally adjusted, employment in Accommodation and Food Services increased by 17,300 or over 14% to 137,100 in the twelve months to the end of December 2013. This compares favourably with the seasonally adjusted employment figures for the same quarter in 2010, 2011 and 2012 which were 121,400, 121,500 and 119,800 respectively. Fáilte Ireland estimates that total tourism employment (when other parts of the sector such as conferencing, attractions and festivals are included) is now approaching 200,000.
Expectations across all areas of the tourism sector for 2014 are very positive. In 2013, more than half of tourism businesses (54%) surveyed by Fáilte Ireland increased employment and, looking at anticipated growth in tourism for the year ahead, Failte Ireland estimates that employment in the sector could increase by between 6,000-8,000 in 2014. This is based on projected overseas demand and trade sentiment for the coming season. To help the industry grow earnings and jobs in 2014 and beyond, the Government has provided funding through Fáilte Ireland to deliver a programme of supports to tourism businesses, including developing visitor experiences, growing digital presence and increasing international sales.