Brexit poses significant challenges to the tourism sector. In the short term the immediate impact has been the drop in value of sterling and from a tourism perspective Ireland has become a more expensive destination for UK visitors as a result.
Since the referendum the Government has had a clear focus on our overall priorities and these are mirrored in the tourism sector. These priorities have included protecting the peace process, no hard border, maintenance of the Common Travel Area, maintenance of existing aviation traffic rights and an effective transitional agreement leading to the closest possible trading relationship with the UK.
The Government has allocated almost €8 million in additional funding to the tourism agencies this year specifically to respond to the impact of Brexit. Tourism Ireland have put in place a programme of marketing activity, post-Brexit research, and stakeholder information to ensure that potential visitors in relevant markets fully appreciate that it is "business as usual" for Ireland and the Irish tourism industry. Tourism Ireland have also put in place a Tourism Taskforce on Brexit which has met regularly to maintain liaison with the British, European and UK Inbound trade and with the UK Tourism Alliance.
Fáilte Ireland are investing €5 million this year to support the tourism enterprises to respond to the impact of Brexit. The ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme is helping businesses to assess the risk and respond to changes and will also assist the sector in diversifying into other markets. Fáilte Ireland’s work is focusing primarily on border counties and the South East region which have been most adversely affected by the drop in the value of sterling.
As part of its Brexit preparations, Tourism Ireland commissioned a wide-ranging review of the British market, independently chaired and led by a steering group of key representatives of the Irish and UK-based tourism industry. Minister Griffin will launch the new strategy in the coming weeks and this will provide a blueprint for future activity in this important market.