HOTELIERS in the county have welcomed the continued growth in overseas visitor figures announced today by the Central Statistics Office but have sounded a note of caution. The president of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, Terence Mulcahy, warned that risks due to the Brexit referendum decision could jeopardise the continued recovery of the sector.
The latest figures show a 13% increase in trips to the country during the first half of the year. Visitor numbers from Britain are up by 16%. The rest of Europe is showing an increase of 11% while the number of visitors from North America is up by 15%.
“Hoteliers in Kerry are very concerned that economic uncertainty and a weaker Sterling could impact on future inbound tourism from the UK, which is Ireland’s largest overseas market – accounting for over 40% of trips to the country each year,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“We are in uncharted territory, with Sterling having dropped by 16% against the Euro compared to this time last year, reducing the spending power of visitors from Britain and Northern Ireland. A sustained weakness in Sterling would present a serious challenge for our local tourism industry as we compete to attract visitors and holidaymakers.
Mr Mulcahy noted that the risks associated with Brexit are now being reflected in forecasts for the UK economy, with growth being revised downwards and the prospect of a UK recession increasing.
“Recent reports indicate that the Brexit result is already taking a toll on the underlying UK economy in terms of business sentiment and consumer confidence. This is likely to have a knock-on effect on consumer spending and the numbers of British people travelling overseas. Early reports of similar falls in Irish business and consumer sentiment are also worrying given how highly sensitive the domestic tourism market is to consumer confidence.”
The Kerry IHF president added: “The vast majority of our members are concerned about the impact Brexit will have on their businesses over the next twelve months and the wider implications for the industry.”
Tourism has recovered in recent years following the downturn and is now a major contributor to our local economy, generating €380 million in annual revenues and supporting 12,000 jobs in Kerry, noted Mr Mulcahy. “Continued recovery cannot be taken for granted, however. Our industry remains vulnerable to external economic shocks, such as the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and we must plan accordingly.”
Mr Mulcahy stated that the recent strong performance of Kerry’s tourism sector has been underpinned by a number of important Government measures such as the 9% tourism VAT rate, the zero rate travel tax and support for improved air access. He said: “The 9% VAT rate, in particular, is of enormous importance to tourism businesses – helping to level the playing field when competing with international destinations for visitors. With revenues being continually reinvested within the sector, the initiative has continued to enable the industry to create additional employment – both nationally and locally in Kerry.”
He warned there can be no room for complacency. “Tourism can still have a bright future with continued support and investment. The tourism and hospitality sector has been one of the great success stories in terms of employment growth in recent years, supporting an additional 50,000 new jobs nationally over the last five years and the sector is on track to create a further 40,000 jobs by 2020.”
Terence Mulcahy, president of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation. PICTURE: DON MACMONAGLE
Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend
Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness. On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin. O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian […]
Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship.
The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness.
On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin.
O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian Pryce, is the current leader of the series while Galvin, who reads pacenotes for fellow Killarney and District Motor Club member, West Cork’s Keith Cronin, is eighth after missing the opening round.
“The element of darkness certainly brings an additional challenge to all the crews, especially since most of us will not have done any night stages for some time, the most recent I did was in 2017 on the Ulster Rally,” Cronin noted.
The route layout reads like an extract from the itinerary of the World Championship counting RAC Rally of the 1980s, featuring familiar locations such as Dalby, Gale Rigg and Langdale, and it will be the Dalby Forest test that opens the competition shortly after 8pm tonight.
Meanwhile, Irish rallying returned last Sunday after the pandemic-enforced lay-off with the ‘Munster Car Club’s Cork 20’.
London-based Listry co-driver Shane Buckley was the best of the local entrants, guiding Daniel Cronin, Keith’s brother, to fifth overall.
Ger Conway and his driver Stephen Wright were just two places and 8.9 seconds behind in another Ford Fiesta RC2. It was Conway’s first taste of a RC2 car since he and Rob Duggan finished second overall on the 2018 Donegal International Rally.
“There is a taste of more after this,” said Ger after a trouble-free day.
Damien Fleming came close to making it four local co-drivers in the top 10. He and his driver Stephen McCann were 11th, just 16.6 off the leader board. They said it took a while to get used to the bumpy Irish tar after a recent trip to the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.
Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms
A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education. Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room […]
A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education.
Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room and a general-purpose hall.
The project, which was funded by Department of Education along with money raised by the school as part of their ‘THE MON-ster Fundraiser’, was just one of three officially opened new additions to the school along with a special dedication of the school’s hall in honour of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a past pupil of the school from 1909-1914.
Also, The Most Rev. Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, officially opened a three-classroom extension at the school’s present site which was opened in 1958 having moved from its College Street location which was opened in 1838 by the Presentation Brothers.
Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Mrs Pearl Dineen the nephew and niece of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty officiated over the dedicating of the school’s new hall to past pupil, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in recognition of his heroic deeds during WWII.
O’Flaherty, who also taught at the school later, became better known for the role he played in World War II while at the Vatican leading over 6,500 prisoners of war, partisans and Jews to freedom to earn him the title of the ‘Vatican Pimpernel’, leading to the 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck portraying the role of O’Flaherty.
A special outdoor classroom ‘Dotts Garden’, dedicated to the memory of Dorothy (Dott) Hennggler the 2011 Washington DC Rose who died at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumour, was officially opened by Anne O’Shea (aunt of the late Dorothy), and Àine McMahon (cousin of the late Dorothy and BOM member). The outdoor classroom was beautifully decorated over the summer by artist Katríona Lynch.
Due to COVID restrictions, the main event took place outdoors with staff joined by a small group of pupils selected from each of the classes representing the student body along with members of the school’s Board of Management.
“Your achievements have been remarkable over the last number of months,” Minister of Education, Norma Foley, said today at the official opening.
“It is my wish going forward that the next year in education will be less complicated, less trying and less difficult one. I think school staff are deserving of that. We can put the COVID atmosphere behind us and we are moving positively along. We hope that in a few months we will talk about living in a post-COVID time. The story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty speaks of the calibre of students produced here, but it also speaks of the courage and bravery and vision that Kerry people can have in the most difficult and trying of times.”
School principal Colm Ó Suilleabháin, who is shortly moving on to St Oliver’s NS in Ballycasheen, was delighted to be in attendance to see the building come to fruition.
“It’s a fantastic culmination of hard work by the staff and the Board of Management, and we are delighted to see the school is fully equipped and resourced for the next generation of pupils from Killarney and beyond,” he said.
Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend
Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day...
Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms
A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was...
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