Speaking at the Irish Hospitality Institute’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry webinar , futurist Valentina Doorly said the industry has not been confronted with a challenge of such proportion since WWII. She said recovery will happen in three chapters, with eager travellers making up for lost time as early as summer 2021.
However, with UNTWO predicting a loss of 70% in international travel movements in 2020 and experts fearing it could be another 18-23 months before international travel fully returns, this “could represent a lethal wound to many in the sector,” said Valentina.
The event, which was hosted by the IHI President Oonagh Cremins (pictured), saw a virtual gathering of more than 1000 tourism business leaders and a high-profile panel of experts.
One of the panellists, CEO of The Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins, said “Tourism will never be taken for granted again. It took a crisis for everyone to appreciate its true value”.
Paul Hayden, head of careers and food in Fáilte Ireland, spoke about the worrying impact that Covid19 has had on the sector in terms of recruitment. He said it is imperative to rebuild trust around the industry to attract and retain talent, and to make it an attractive career path for students. “We need smart and skilled people to support recovery. Those working in the sector are positive about future opportunities, but we must get that message out.”