Employment trends in tourism and hospitality

Labour market information: tourism, hospitality and leisure in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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The tourism and hospitality industry in the Republic of Ireland employs over 250,000 people across all areas.

Hospitality

  • Irish hospitality, tourism and leisure graduates have a strong reputation worldwide for their expertise in hotel, restaurant, bar, leisure and resort management expertise, building on the reputation of Ireland internationally as a friendly and hospitable country.
  • 2016 was a record year for Irish tourism with 8.8 million international tourists visiting the State
  • Ireland now has 21 Michelin star restaurants, more than ever before, reflecting the worldwide reputation of Irish food
  • Condé Nast magazine recently selected Ballyfin Demense (County Laois) as the world’s best hotel
  • Irish Institutes of Technology and universities have a worldwide reputation for hospitality education, attracting students from many countries and offer courses from Higher Certificates to Ordinary and Honours level degrees, Master’s and Doctorates in tourism
  • The average room rate in Dublin is now €131.

Sport

The larger sporting organisations appear to remain strong due to the ongoing popularity of sport in Ireland and elsewhere. However, those in the sports industry more dependent on state funding (eg local authorities) have been hit much harder and hence have limited graduate opportunities.

The events industry

The events industry is one of the first to be hit during an economic downturn as companies or individuals are unwilling or don’t want to be seen to fund costly events. But keep your eyes open. Events will still happen – but probably on the cheap – so get involved. Also, marketing budgets often remain high even when all other department funding is cut.

Growth areas

The cruise line industry has seen growth in recent years and remains an employment option. Some catering management companies in the ROI have reported growth leading to graduate opportunities.

Fáilte Ireland , the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism have targeted a number of strategic areas as potential growth areas worth investing in:

  • Cultural tourism: a significant growth area worldwide, which has had an estimated value to the Irish economy of over €5 billion annually.
  • Festivals and cultural events initiative: aims to spread events around the country and invest in attractive and sustainable events to enhance local and regional tourism.
  • Food tourism .
  • Sustainable/eco tourism (also called agri, agro and rural tourism): a real global growth area.
  • Adventure tourism.
  • Short city breaks: Ireland as a city break destination.
  • Car touring: seen by many tourists as a cheaper way to holiday.
  • Sports tourism: involves a focus on bringing major sporting events to Ireland, particularly those which showcase Ireland as a tourism destination.
  • Leisure pursuits/amenities: walking, hill walking, cruising, angling, golf, cycling, equestrian.
  • Spa and wellness/well-being activities.
  • New and developing markets such as China and India: knowledge of these markets (eg a desire to travel in groups) and the offering of suitable products is vital. Language skills can be vital for building these ‘tourism’ relationships.
  • English language learning.
  • Business/corporate tourism: offers real growth potential through marketing Ireland as a conference/business and incentive travel destination. The success of the newly opened Convention Centre Dublin is an example of this. The potential benefit to other sections of the tourism industry is also great, eg accommodation providers, leisure pursuits/amenities, food and drink sector.
  • E-tourism: potential opportunities for those who want to innovate in and work on online marketing/sales and information management.
  • Rapidly aging populations: this will mean a need for a far more expansive range of products and services aimed at this demographic group, eg cruises.
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