The Irish tourism industry could create as many as 8,000 jobs in 2014, according to Fáilte Ireland.
Confidence in the industry is high given the nationwide success of The Gathering initiative. As a result, some 68 per cent of tourism operators had a positive outlook on the year ahead (compared with just 48 per cent this time last year).
Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, claimed that the industry could play a major part in Ireland's economic recovery:
'Crucially, when it comes to job creation, the sector can reach those parts that other industries don’t. With €100m invested in Fáilte Ireland initiatives in recent years, including the new Wild Atlantic Way, and an overall increase in overseas visitors anticipated during 2014, tourism is well placed to deliver additional revenue and employment to many areas outside the major metropolitan hubs.'
Visitor numbers to Ireland in 2013 were up 7 per cent on the previous year and over half of the businesses surveyed by Fáilte Ireland saw the creation of more jobs. Yet the agency suggests that there is no room for complacency as we head into the New Year.
'When we look at the next 12 months, it’s clear that the tourism industry is gearing up to reap the benefits of further growth, said Quinn. 'As they face this prospect, Fáilte Ireland will pay its part in ensuring the sector does what it needs to do as we build on the recent momentum in performance: develop greater international demand; deliver more compelling consumer experiences; get the most out of digital media; and continue to provide authentic experiences at competitive prices.'