Fáilte Irelands “Survive to Thrive” Webinar- our key take-aways.
Fáilte Irelands Survive to Thrive Webinar- our key take-aways.
The 1st of February is known on the Celtic Irish Calendar as the first day of Spring. A symbolic date as it creates a mindset that the greys of winter are behind us and better days lie ahead. A perfect day for Fáilte Irelands industry webinar where they shared with over 5000 attendees their plans for 2021. Amid the backdrop of another level 5 lockdown, the speakers on the day encouraged their listeners to stay hopeful and believe that the industry will come back stronger than ever.
The webinar was presided over by Fiona Monaghan, head of product development for activities. The webinar opened with a statement from Minister of Tourism Catherine Martin who assured the industry that there would be no cliff edge ending of supports and announced the new €55 million continuity fund. (More on this later).
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, started his presentation with some statistics on the last year- a €6 billion decline in revenues across the sector being the one to stand out the most. Mr Kelly then set out the supports that have been put in place by FI in the last 10 months such as a refund of €3million in fees, 14 suites of supports, 18 local recovery taskforces and lots more. He outlined that domestic travel would be the first to recover, then British travellers, followed by Europe and then the US. VFR travel will be top of the list followed by holiday makers and then business travel. The high-end priced market will travel first. He mentioned the importance of Ireland being a competitive destination.
Jenny DeSaulles, Director of sector development, outlined the employee assistance programme undertaken by FI. HR support, professional development, e-learning upskilling and enterprise supports including an extensive strategic leadership programme. Ms DeSaulles then explained the nature of the new €55 million continuity fund. The fund is for those businesses that were not eligible for the CRSS scheme. It will help these businesses cover their fixed costs for 2020 and 2021. Phase 1 will take in activity providers, visitor attractions, caravan and camping parks as well as cruise rentals.
Next we heard from Niall Tracey, Director of Marketing for Fáilte Ireland. Niall shared very exciting plans for the year ahead for domestic tourism. The keep discovering campaign that was launched in 2019 will be relaunched. They are doubling the investment in marketing this campaign from 2019. Keep discovering creatives have been developed for 10 counties with a promise that the rest of Ireland will follow. There will also be a big focus on experiences in Dublin as well as push on our safety messaging.
The last speaker of the day was Paul Keeley- The director of regional development at Fáilte Ireland. Paul brought us through 5 areas of focus for his team in 2021. Optimising domestic revenue, making the best of urban outdoors, being ready for international markets, digital transformation to grow revenues and business tourism recovery. Paul went into detail in each area and made a really good case for recovery this year.
This was a 2 hour webinar with lots of details so here are our 3 key take aways:
- Financial supports will be here for a while.
One of the first statements from Minister Martin was that there is no end date at the moment for the CRSS. This will have come as a great relief to all of the attendees. The announcement of a €55 million continuity fund will also have given hope to those businesses that have effectively been closed for a big part of last year with no hope of opening before Easter. Mentions of an outdoor dining grant scheme is also a welcome prospect.
- Focus on domestic.
There was a lot of mention of International Tourists at the webinar but thankfully the marketing plans are being focused on domestic tourism this year. Niall Tracey mentioned that 55k people were surveyed last year and over 60% of them said they would take a break in Ireland after the restrictions lifted at the end of June. However, only 29% of these people actually took a break. Where did all that pent up demand go?? A big focus will be on the outdoors and of course the county by county specific campaigns.
- Extensive enterprise supports.
Jenny DeSaulles laid out all of the enterprise supports that were being made available to all businesses. Its no surprise that there is a concern among the industry that staffing levels will become a problem again when things start opening up. I truly hope that as many businesses as possible will take up the strategic leadership programme. Strategies to future proof your business and operational excellence training are just some of the offerings.
Of course a date for the industry to look forward to re-opening is not on the cards yet. One thing that was apparent was that Fáilte Ireland have their plans in place for recovery. Have you started on your plans yet so you can hit the ground running when the date is announced? For help with a marketing plan or strategy just email Back Office Marketing on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Helen on 087-2368445
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