In the policy document the Government has acknowledged that the Tourism and Hospitality sectors have been amongst those worst hit by the impact of the virus and according to this document, “The disruption to economic activity caused by Covid-19 saw a reduction in employment across the national labour force from the start of 2020, with sectors such as Tourism, Hospitality, Arts and Culture, which are important for many rural economies, particularly affected”.
It agrees too that sectors such as Accommodation and Food Services (essentially the Tourism and Hospitality sectors), Arts & Entertainment and Personal Services on which many rural towns, villages and communities depend, are likely to be the slowest to recover.
“Some of these sectors are also amongst those most exposed to the impact of Brexit,” the document adds.
“A sectoral report on the Tourism and Hospitality sectors highlights the potential impacts of Covid-19 on these sectors and the changed environment in which these businesses will operate post-Covid.”
The government will therefore separately explore the use of rural pubs for the above as part of action to enhance public services for rural communities.
Actions to achieve its ambition
According to the report, “Ireland’s food and beverage offering has a significant role to play in the Tourism industry’s recovery from the impact of Covid-19 given our reputation for good quality food, the growing number of Irish distilleries and the growing interest in food-trails and food festivals. Food and drink consumption accounts for 35% of all international tourism revenues and gastro-tourism creates jobs and draws tourists all year round”.
The economic impact of Covid-19 has severely affected island communities too, with many of the sectors which islanders rely on for employment such as tourism and hospitality being badly hit and which will take time to recover.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland has welcomed Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys’ announcement that her department plans to develop this pilot scheme.