Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
42. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide details on her engagement with Government colleagues regarding recruitment and retention challenges in the tourism sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32184/22]
47. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures that are in place to meet labour supply and skills requirements in the tourism sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32267/22]
71. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the engagement her Department has had with other Government Departments and agencies to address challenges in the recruitment and retention of staff in the tourism sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32187/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 42, 46, 47, 64 and 71 together.
Prior to Covid, the tourism sector had registered consistent increases in the numbers employed in Ireland’s regions and was an important driver of greater regional balance and dispersed economic activity.
Today, however, the sector faces a range of challenges, in common with the wider economy, such as sizable increases in the costs of key inputs and difficulty in recruiting and retaining key skills. These challenges are not unique to Ireland; indeed, they are shared by many countries around the world.
The wider tourism and hospitality sector is a shared concern for both my Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). This shared mission is reflected in the Hospitality and Tourism Forum, which was established during the pandemic and is co-chaired by the Tánaiste and myself. The Forum is a valuable opportunity for both sectors to communicate their priorities and the Forum will meet again shortly. At official level, my Department engages regularly with our counterparts in DETE on issues such as work permits and other matters impacting tourism and hospitality.
My Department is also represented on the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group, which brings together industry representatives, state agencies, Government Departments and the education sector. The Group has pivoted to focus on supporting the industry to address some of its immediate recruitment challenges in the months ahead.
The Department and Fáilte Ireland are working with industry and across Government Departments to ensure a co-ordinated approach to addressing the labour and skills shortages.
My Department also continues to engage with the Department of Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science regarding the Tourism Recovery Taskforce’s Recommendations on enhancing sustainable employment.
As part of the drive to promote tourism as an attractive sector within which to work, Fáilte Ireland is developing a new “Excellent Employer” programme to help all participating businesses to improve their employer practices and build their reputation as excellent employers. It has also launched a Transition Year Work Placement Programme and a major recruitment awareness campaign called “Works For Me”.
When we look at the wider economy and the particular set of challenges facing the tourism industry it is clear that a collective and concerted multi-stakeholder approach to tackling these challenges is required and that is the approach that my Department and I will continue to pursue.
43. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her Department’s strategy to promote Ireland as a tourist destination; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32427/22]
My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of developing national tourism policy and the tourism agencies (Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland) deal with the implementation of this policy. Tourism Ireland is the agency responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a tourism destination.
The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Tourism Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to Tourism Ireland for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.