Irish Tourism Industry Prepares to Reopen

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Irish businesses are looking to open up and stay that way.

Like just about every other first-world country, business closures hit Ireland hard during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of some minor attempts to reopen during the summer and holiday seasons last year, repeated surges of COVID infections have prevented the country’s usually booming tourism and hospitality industries from reopening to full capacity, and small businesses have felt the squeeze. However, with vaccinations proliferating throughout Ireland, it’s gradually becoming safer for people to return to the streets and remain in each other’s company. This prompted Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin to announce two weeks ago that the country will begin a phased reopening process, and business-owners are eager for their turn to arrive.

“I think we have no choice but to stay open at this stage because from a financial survival (view), we really need to do it,” Niall Coffey, manager of the Harvey’s Point in Donegal, told CNBC.

“You try and send back food to suppliers. We’ve closed twice, having to go through fruit and veg and throw it out or try to find a home for that. We’ve been closed and beer has been going off,” Des O’Dowd, owner of the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in Cork, told CNBC about the impact of the prolonged closures.

“It is an expensive process to start and stop and to do that again now would be heart-breaking so I hope that this is it, that we’re opening and there’s no going back.”

Tourism and hospitality are one of the largest employers and moneymakers in Ireland, which is why the Irish government has acknowledged that, even after businesses are permitted to reopen, a stimulus plan will be required to tide business owners over until they can recoup their losses and get a steady flow of business again.

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9 months ago