Fáilte Ire­land: Sup­port­ing Ire­land’s Tourism And Hospi­tal­ity Busi­nesses

Business Plus - - CORONACRIS­IS -

The im­pact of the COVID-19 cri­sis on Ire­land’s tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try has been cat­a­strophic. Fáilte Ire­land is work­ing with tourism busi­nesses across the coun­try to sup­port them dur­ing this ex­tremely chal­leng­ing time. With the Gov­ern­ment’s roadmap for re­open­ing in place, the Na­tional Tourism De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity is now look­ing to­wards re­cov­ery and has de­vel­oped a range of sup­ports to help tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses re-open their doors safely and ef­fec­tively.

As the COVID-19 cri­sis un­folded, Fáilte Ire­land formed an In­dus­try Ad­vi­sory Group made up of key tourism agen­cies, stake­hold­ers and sec­toral bod­ies, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of Trans­port, Tourism and Sport, to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and agree a set of prac­ti­cal mea­sures to sup­port the sec­tor.

“The tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try es­sen­tially col­lapsed overnight,” says Martina Brom­ley, Head of En­ter­prise and Hos­pi­tal­ity De­vel­op­ment at Fáilte Ire­land. “As the Na­tional Tourism De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, we stepped in to pro­vide the ex­pert guid­ance and sup­ports ur­gently needed by busi­nesses across the coun­try.”

As ex­pert guid­ance on cash flow and liq­uid­ity was the most im­me­di­ate need, the first step for Fáilte Ire­land was to re­fund ac­com­mo­da­tion reg­is­tra­tion charges, trade show par­tic­i­pa­tion fees and a range of other pro­mo­tional fees and charges for the re­main­der of 2020 to de­liver al­most €3m back to Ir­ish tourism busi­nesses.

COVID-19 Busi­ness Sup­port Hub

A Fáilte Ire­land Busi­ness Sup­ports Task­force, led by the Sec­tor De­vel­op­ment Direc­torate un­der Direc­tor Jenny De Saulles and with in­put from across the or­gan­i­sa­tion, was es­tab­lished to fo­cus solely on sup­port­ing the tourism in­dus­try. In re­sponse to busi­nesses’ im­me­di­ate needs, an on­line COVID-19 Busi­ness Sup­port Hub was cre­ated on www.fail­teire­land.ie to pro­vide up-to-date in­for­ma­tion, ex­pert ad­vice and guid­ance to help tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses nav­i­gate the cri­sis.

The sup­port hub has al­ready had al­most 90,000 vis­i­tors and the prac­ti­cal we­bi­nars have been viewed 15,000 times, with pos­i­tive feed­back from the in­dus­try. Martina Brom­ley says the COVID-19 Busi­ness Sup­port Hub will con­tinue to be up­dated with the lat­est ad­vice and sup­ports as the cri­sis evolves.

“Our COVID-19 Busi­ness Sup­port Hub houses our suite of free sup­ports, in­clud­ing prac­ti­cal we­bi­nars and FAQs on top­ics from in­sur­ance to man­ag­ing busi­ness re­la­tion­ships and safe­guard­ing fu­ture rev­enues, and new sup­ports will be added to the hub to meet the ur­gent needs of busi­nesses as we move through the cri­sis into the re­cov­ery stage. The sit­u­a­tion is chang­ing by the day and we are con­tin­u­ing to speak to tourism busi­nesses reg­u­larly about the chal­lenges they are fac­ing so that we can con­tinue to pro­vide prac­ti­cal, tac­ti­cal and rel­e­vant sup­ports that are 100% sub­sidised by Fáilte Ire­land.”

Plan­ning for re­cov­ery

Fáilte Ire­land is now look­ing at the next phase of its re­sponse to the COVID-19 cri­sis, which is re­cov­ery, says Martina. “Com­pa­nies will need a strong re­cov­ery plan and huge com­mit­ment to jump-start busi­ness af­ter what has to be the big­gest chal­lenge the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try has ever faced. We have de­vel­oped a range of busi­ness sup­ports that will look at busi­nesses by sec­tor and ad­dress the ar­eas they need to look at now in terms of a phased re­turn to busi­ness.”

Along­side sec­tor-spe­cific guide­lines for safe re­open­ing, Fáilte Ire­land is work­ing with busi­nesses to sup­port them to de­ter­mine the ca­pac­ity of their busi­ness and the fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions of this new op­er­at­ing model.

Fi­nan­cial re­cov­ery

The stage at which busi­nesses will open will de­pend on the pace at which re­stric­tions are lifted, busi­ness de­mand, do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional economies and busi­nesses’ cash­flow pro­jec­tions. Fáilte Ire­land’s fi­nan­cial re­cov­ery

sup­ports, de­vel­oped with in­dus­try ex­perts, pro­vide busi­nesses with the tools to make the best de­ci­sions for their busi­ness. Th­ese tools in­clude ex­pert we­bi­nars, guides, check­lists and fi­nan­cial tem­plates to ad­vise busi­nesses on ar­eas such as man­ag­ing costs, fore­cast­ing and ac­cess­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port from banks or other in­sti­tu­tions.

Ca­pac­ity & Com­mer­cial Im­pacts Cal­cu­la­tor

Driv­ing rev­enue/in­come streams, while look­ing at over­all op­er­a­tional costs and ad­her­ing to Gov­ern­ment and public health ad­vice, will be key for the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try to re­set busi­nesses. Fáilte Ire­land has cre­ated a ‘Ca­pac­ity & Com­mer­cial Im­pacts Cal­cu­la­tor’ to help busi­nesses to as­sess which parts of their op­er­a­tion can func­tion prof­itably, how to utilise any avail­able space to help over­come ca­pac­ity re­duc­tions and where to drive ef­fi­cien­cies.

HR

There will be sig­nif­i­cant changes to how busi­nesses and their staff op­er­ate when they re­turn to the work­place. It is im­por­tant for busi­nesses to man­age their re­source plan­ning and staff com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and re­view the le­gal, HR and safety im­pli­ca­tions of mak­ing a com­plete or phased re­turn to work for staff.

Fáilte Ire­land has worked with in­dus­try ex­perts to guide busi­nesses in the key ar­eas of risk man­age­ment, pro­vid­ing a safe place to work, man­ag­ing and plan­ning changes to con­tracts and hours (in­clud­ing po­ten­tial re­dun­dan­cies), and man­ag­ing em­ploy­ment sup­ports and pay­ments. Th­ese sup­ports have all been de­vel­oped in line with equal­ity and em­ploy­ment leg­is­la­tion.

Sup­port­ing teams while work­ing re­motely

Fáilte Ire­land has cre­ated a suite of free eLearn­ing pro­grammes for busi­nesses to help them to mo­ti­vate their teams and up­skill them in new ar­eas while busi­nesses are shut down dur­ing COVID-19. The pur­pose of the eLearn­ing pro­gramme is to sup­port busi­nesses to keep their em­ploy­ees en­gaged while they are work­ing from home, and to pre­pare them to re­turn to work.

Sup­port­ing work­place well­be­ing

The COVID-19 cri­sis is one of the most chal­leng­ing and dif­fi­cult times the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try has ever faced. Fáilte Ire­land’s well­be­ing sup­ports are avail­able to tourism busi­nesses and their em­ploy­ees to help them through this dif­fi­cult time. Th­ese sup­ports in­clude the I Am Here: Rapid Re­sponse ser­vice in part­ner­ship with Pulse Learn­ing, a pro­gramme of men­tal health sup­port and learn­ing within the work­place and be­yond, and an Em­ployee As­sis­tance pro­gramme in part­ner­ship with In­spire Work­places. This pro­vides free coun­selling ser­vices as well as ad­vice on fi­nan­cial con­cerns and le­gal is­sues for busi­ness own­ers and em­ploy­ees across the in­dus­try.

Op­er­a­tional guid­ance

Fáilte Ire­land’s sec­toral op­er­a­tional guide­lines are cur­rently be­ing fi­nalised in col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try bod­ies, rel­e­vant state agen­cies, the De­part­ment of Trans­port, Tourism and Sport and wider Gov­ern­ment. Th­ese de­tailed, sec­tor-spe­cific guide­lines will as­sist tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses to pre­pare to re-open safely whilst ad­her­ing to public health ad­vice and the Gov­ern­ment roadmap for the re­open­ing of so­ci­ety and busi­ness.

Tourism Re­cov­ery Task­force

Fáilte Ire­land wel­comed the re­cent es­tab­lish­ment of the Gov­ern­ment’s spe­cial Tourism Re­cov­ery Task­force, ded­i­cated to spear­head­ing eco­nomic re­cov­ery for the tourism sec­tor. Mem­bers of the Task­force in­clude lead­ers from var­i­ous sec­tors of the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ire­land, who will to­gether de­velop in­no­va­tive plans to en­sure the tourism sec­tor can sur­vive and emerge from this cri­sis ready for busi­ness.

Find out more

To ac­cess sup­port and the most up-to-date in­for­ma­tion visit Fáilte Ire­land’s COVID-19 Busi­ness Sup­port Hub at www.fail­teire­land.ie

Martina Brom­ley, Head of En­ter­prise and Hos­pi­tal­ity De­vel­op­ment at Fáilte Ire­land

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