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Challenges “still remain” tourism conference hears

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Securing a long-term sustainable recovery in tourism is centre stage today (Tuesday) as hoteliers gather in Killarney for the Irish Hotels Federation’s (IHF) 85th Annual Conference.

Berndadette Randles (Randles Hotels Killarney) Denyse Campbell (President IHF) and Sinead McCarthy (The Brehon Hotel) pictured at the IHF conference in the Great Southern Killarney on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kamile Lyne (Randles Hotels) and Breffni Ingerton (The Gleneagle Group) pictured at the IHF conference in the Great Southern Killarney on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Ivan Yates (Moderator) Berndadette Randles (Randles Hotels) Denyse Campbell (President IHF) Catherine Toolan (Managing Director Diageo Irish Brand Homes) and Sean O'Driscoll (iNua Hospitality Hotels) pictured at the IHF conference in the Great Southern Killarney on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Speaking at the opening of the ‘A Shared Vision’ themed conference, Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) President Denyse Campbell said that tourism has witnessed unprecedented upheavals over the past three years with a number of challenges still remaining.

“While we saw a welcome uplift in tourism activity during the last six months of 2022, significant uncertainty persists this year in relation to the global economy – particularly given the challenges we face around the cost of doing business, high levels of inflation, increasing interest rates and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis across key overseas markets,” Ms Campbell stated.

A particular concern for hoteliers and the wider tourism industry is the outlook for bookings from Great Britain given the very challenging economic environment this market is facing. Traditionally Ireland’s largest source of overseas visitors, Great Britain continues to face very significant economic headwinds, and this is having an impact on the outlook and levels of forward bookings. According to recent industry research carried out by the IHF, 60% of hoteliers report that forward bookings from Great Britain are still down on pre-COVID levels. The rest of Europe is also challenging while the prospects for North America are brighter this year.

Despite lingering economic uncertainty, hoteliers remain focused on recovery and building on progress made in the second half of 2022 with 54% of hotels and guesthouses planning to increase employment levels this year.

“At the heart of every successful hotel and guesthouse are its people, and supporting and developing them is key to our long-term success," Ms Campbell added.

"We are encouraging people of all ages to consider a career in the hotel sector. There are an enormous variety of career paths and training opportunities that are constantly evolving in our sector. It is an ideal time given the wide range of exciting options available for people at every stage of their working lives.”

Ms Campbell noted that, since the lifting of restrictions in 2022, the industry has achieved a remarkable restoration in employment with over 250,000 livelihoods now supported by tourism businesses throughout the country including 60,000 employed directly by Irish hotels and guesthouses.

Meanwhile 85% of hotels are planning to invest in refurbishment and additional capital expenditure over the coming year – making up for lost ground since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Ms Campbell noted that sustainability is a major focus for the sector with 67% of hotels planning to invest in sustainability initiatives this year while a further 25% are actively exploring options for potential investment in this area. Key priorities include renewable energy and heating, energy efficiency, retrofitting of buildings, waste reduction and water conservation.

“Needless to say, our industry has been through an exceptionally difficult period, but we are now beginning to see a cautious optimism for tourism as hotels look to invest in their businesses and product development this year with a particular emphasis on investing in our people, sustainability and business development.”

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Ring of Beara Cycle launches school programme

The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud […]

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The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud to continue to with two great initiatives: its Kids’ Cycle and its sponsorship of the School Cycle Safety Programme.

The Ring of Beara Cycle will take place on May 25 with over 4,000 cyclists taking part. The event starts and finishes in Kenmare town, Co Kerry to complete either a 110km or 140km route encompassing the magnificent mountains, valleys and the rugged coastline of the Beara Peninsula.

Kids’ Cycle
Adults are not the only ones getting on their bikes on May 25 for the Ring of Beara Cycle. The event also has its very own cycle for children around the town of Kenmare. Not only does this give kids a chance to join in the days’ activities with their parents, but it’s free and a great way for kids to get outdoors and exercise in a fun and safe environment.
Open to any child in national school between third and fifth class and following a 2km route around Kenmare and a slightly shorter route for tinier ones, registration is from 9.15am in Kenmare town square. Parents and guardians are welcome to cycle with their children. All participants should bring and wear a safety helmet for the cycle.
School Cycle Safety Programme
Another community initiative from the Ring of Beara Cycle is the Cycle Right Programme, working with local schools to get kids’ up to speed on road safety and cycle best practices.
The Ring of Beara Cycle is working with Cycle Sense and Wheely Good Cycling Academy to deliver this 4-week programme to local schools in and around Kenmare and the Beara Peninsula.
Some 250 students across 8 schools are participating in this initiative, and the schools involved are: St John’s National School, Realt Na Mara National School , Lauragh National School and Tulloha National School in Kenmare, and on the Beara Peninsula: Scoil Chaitigheirn in Eyeries, Oir Cheann iNational School in Eyeries, Cahermore National School in Allihies, Scoil An Croi Ro Naofa in Castletownbere, Mhichil Naofa in Castletownbere, Adrigole N S in Bantry, and Trafrask Mixed N S in Ardrigole.
This initiative is normally paid for by the schools themselves but is now free for all the children taking part thanks to a generous donation by the Ring of Beara Cycle Committee that covers the cost of delivering the programme to these schools.
Cycle Right is the National Standard for Cycle Training and provides practical cycle safety and skills training through Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland. The aim of the programme is to promote cycle confidence on the road in increasingly complex scenarios delivered by qualified, registered trainers.
No stranger to giving back to the local community, not only does the Ring of Beara Cycle make a significant, positive impact on the local economy, it also encourages kids to enjoy themselves on their bikes and to do this safely with confidence.

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is a must-attend event

Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’. This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site […]

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’.

This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site in Castleisland.

The event was always renowned for getting great advice on the Agri topics of the day as well as a window into modern developments taking place in all aspect of Agriculture and country living.

The extending of the yard area will allow more space to be given over to even more exhibitors, ensuring all areas of agriculture, and rural life will be showcased on the 22.

There will be experts on hand to advise on Calf Rearing, Grassland management, Weed control, Drainage, Fencing , Shed and Yard Layouts as well as bee keeping, and helpful health advice.

“As well as the great advice, you will be ensured of great deals, great food, great craic and free entry to the many spot prizes that will be available on the day,” said general manager Denis O’Connor.

“All that is asked is your attendance and if at all possible, to make a small contribution to our chosen charity Pieta House.”

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