Fáilte Ireland is the national tourism body in Ireland. Their role is supporting the long-term sustainable growth across all sectors in Ireland.
Fáilte Ireland work in partnership with Government, State Agencies, local authorities and groups to develop tourism across Ireland. They develop plans and invest in infrastructure, festivals and visitor attractions to help promote tourism and tourism businesses innovate and grow.
Fáilte Ireland support Business Tourism and have a number of programmes that assist businesses in the blue economy. They work with the sector to provide targeted support and funding to SMEs in particular and have unveiled plans to assist the hospitality sector, who have been struggling to retain staff since the pandemic.
There provide courses on upskilling and supports to try and assist businesses in the tourism/hospitality/blue economy. Part of their mission is to support the survival and drive the recovery of the sector in order to maximise the sustainable economic, environmental, cultural and social contribution of tourism to Ireland.
Fáilte Ireland are responsible for marketing Ireland as a domestic holiday destination. They have grown marketing campaign such as the Wild Atlantic Way which have proven to be a success across the world.
As outlined above Fáilte Ireland’s main aim is to support the long-term sustainable growth of tourism throughout Ireland. However, since the pandemic hit in 2020 the tourism sector in Ireland has been in recovery.
Therefore, Fáilte Ireland sees this as a key area where they can support the recovery and economic growth of a competitive tourism sector that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
During the course of our research, we interviewed Programme officer with Fáilte Ireland, David Leonard. He explained that a major element of Fáilte Ireland’s work plan for 2022/2023 is a multifaceted tourism careers strategy to address the staffing and skills crisis in tourism and hospitality including the first ever Excellent Employer Programme
Ireland’s tourism industry and blue economy, like many other countries across Europe, has been hit hard by the pandemic – gaining, retaining and training staff has been an ongoing battle since the sector re-opened in 2022.
Fáilte Ireland Programme Officer
“The pandemic has had a profound impact on the industry’s skill base, with a mass exodus of workers into other industries. Chefs stand out as an industry ‘crisis’, with most (88%) who need them saying they are having ‘considerable difficulty’ recruiting. HR skills within tourism businesses were also tested and highlighted a skills gap in areas of:
- Recruiting in a competitive market
- Onboarding and developing staff.
- Retention strategies (development, career progression, motivation etc)
Fáilte Ireland’s are developing and delivering supports to build HR skills within tourism businesses specifically in the areas of:
- Recruiting in a competitive market
- Onboarding and developing staff
- Retention strategies (development, career progression, motivation)
A major element of Fáilte Ireland’s work plan for 2022/2023 is a multifaceted tourism careers strategy to address the staffing and skills crisis in tourism and hospitality [Blue Economy] including the first ever Excellent Employer Programme.
“Challenges from the tourist side, that is, the demand side are exacerbated by a lack of entrepreneurial skills and training, which hinders rural hospitality and tourism entrepreneurs’ ability to deliver the value that tourists expect.
“Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future looks bright for travel and tourism. The way many of us live and work has changed because of the pandemic and the way we travel has changed as well. New categories of travel have emerged. The rise of “bleisure” travel is one example – combining elements of business and leisure travel into a single trip. Newly flexible work arrangements, including the opportunity for many knowledge workers to work remotely, have created opportunities for extended travel, not limited by a Monday to Friday “9 to 5” workweek in the office.”
As the impact of COVID-19 threatened the Irish tourism industry, Fáilte Ireland’s dedicated Support Hub helped businesses navigate the crisis and provided an extensive range of business supports which have been developed in consultation with industry experts to meet recruitment, marketing and finance needs amongst other supports.
In addition, Fáilte Ireland runs a Careers Oversight Group which provides a forum for the current and emerging training and skills needs of the industry to be identified and addressed.
Mr. Leonard believes there needs to be improved co-ordination nationally of training provision between the industry and providers in the future to maximise supports for the tourism/blue industries within Ireland.
“Establishing a relationship with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and education providers, can help ensure that training programmes that are developed meet the real need of industry, and are provided at a consistently high quality throughout the country.
“Finally, a blended learning approach was adopted during the pandemic which allowed learners the ability to study at a place and time that suited their individual circumstances. As the accommodation crises continues, coupled with the increasing cost of living, this blended model needs to be reviewed, refreshed, and refined to meet the evolving needs of learners,” he added.