Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | Extent to which adequate staff are available for the hotel industry
To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which he remains satisfied that adequate and sufficiently trained personnel remain available to the hotel industry to ensure that the sector is adequately catered for in terms of accommodation throughout summer and winter months; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Prior to Covid, the tourism sector had registered consistent increases in the numbers employed in Ireland’s regions and was an important driver of greater regional balance and dispersed economic activity.
Today, however, the sector faces a range of challenges, in common with the wider economy, such as sizable increases in the costs of key inputs and difficulty in recruiting and retaining key skills. These challenges are not unique to Ireland; indeed, they are shared by many countries around the world.
The wider tourism and hospitality sector is a shared concern for both my Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). This shared mission is reflected in the Hospitality and Tourism Forum, which was established during the pandemic and is co-chaired by the Tánaiste and myself. The Forum is a valuable opportunity for both sectors to communicate their priorities and the Forum will meet again shortly. At official level, my Department engages regularly with our counterparts in DETE on issues such as work permits and other matters impacting tourism and hospitality.
My Department is also represented on the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group, which brings together industry representatives, state agencies, Government Departments and the education sector. The Group has pivoted to focus on supporting the industry to address some of its immediate recruitment challenges in the months ahead.
The Department and Fáilte Ireland are working with industry and across Government Departments to ensure a co-ordinated approach to addressing the labour and skills shortages.
My Department also continues to engage with the Department of Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science regarding the Tourism Recovery Taskforce’s Recommendations on enhancing sustainable employment.
As part of the drive to promote tourism as an attractive sector within which to work, Fáilte Ireland is developing a new “Excellent Employer” programme to help all participating businesses to improve their employer practices and build their reputation as excellent employers. It has also launched a Transition Year Work Placement Programme and a major recruitment awareness campaign called “Works For Me”.
When we look at the wider economy and the particular set of challenges facing the tourism industry it is clear that a collective and concerted multi-stakeholder approach to tackling these challenges is required and that is the approach that my Department and I will continue to pursue.
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