Bid for ‘Experience Economy Charter’

Employers group Ibec is seeking the introduction by the Government of a "competitiveness charter" to put a limit on annual increases in labour market costs facing the experience economy.

The organisation also wants a PRSI rebate for targeted companies in the experience economy most affected by labour costs and specific measures to support low-earning workers in the sector.

The demands are contained in a new economic assessment which finds that around 230,000 people work directly in the experience economy across 32,000 businesses, 70% of which are located outside the capital.

Spending on goods and services in the sector each year is worth €4 billion, with over €1 billion going to Irish-based food and drink suppliers. Also, €4.5 billion is generated in wages and salaries each year, with export earnings from inbound tourism reaching €7 billion.

Ibec says the sector faces a range of challenges, including ongoing labour shortages, additional labour market taxes, entitlements and regulations, as well as digitalisation and sustainability.

It says the sector lacks strategic planning oversight and calls for this role to be fulfilled by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

"While we welcomed the recent Government report on the impact of accumulative labour cost measures on business, the true measure of its success lies in the urgency and decisiveness of the policy response,"  said Sharon Higgins, executive director of membership and sectors.

"The report has confirmed the significant cost increases that Experience Economy businesses are expected to face over the next two years and acknowledges the serious concerns regarding job retention and business viability.

"Ibec, in particular, welcomes the proposal for a commitment to a ‘competitiveness charter’ concerning State-imposed labour market costs, as well as the introduction of a PRSI rebate targeted at specific companies."