An Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar, TD, pictured with Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs and Daragh Feighery, General Manager of Center Parcs Picture: Marc O'Sullivan
Center Parcs Longford Forest CEO Martin Dalby, has been appointed to a special government Tourism Recovery Taskforce dedicated to spearheading economic recovery for the tourism sector.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, announced the formation of a the taskforce which will have an Independent Chair in the guise of Ruth Andrews, CEO of ITOA Ireland, Chair of ITIC, and Special Advisor to AVEA.
Other Taskforce members include;
· Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, Director, Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel and Spa, Adare Co. Limerick. Since Feb 2020 President of the IHF
· Eimear Killian, General Manager of “Brasserie on the Corner” Restaurant, Galway
· Stephen Kavanagh, Board member and former CEO of Aer Lingus; current board member of aircraft leasing company CDB Aviation
· Jane Stacey, Head of the Tourism Unit in the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
· Ken Spratt, Head of Tourism and Sport, D/TTAS
· John Herlihy, VP EMEA and LATAM at LinkedIn
· Pat O’Leary, chair of Kerry Tourism Industry Federation; former MD of International Maritime Division, Liebherr Group
· Tom Enright, CEO Wexford County Council
· Eoghan Corry, Travel industry commentator and broadcaster
· Martin Dalby, CEO, Center Parcs.
· John McLaughlin, CEO, North & West Coast Links Golf.
· Paul Kelly, CEO Fáilte Ireland (National Tourism Development Authority)
· Niall Gibbons, CEO Tourism Ireland (Overseas marketing agency)
The purpose of the Taskforce is to prepare a Tourism Recovery Plan for submission to the Minister which will include a set of recommendations on how best the Irish tourism sector can adapt and recover in the changed tourism environment as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
The plan will identify priority aims, key enablers and market opportunities for the sector for the period 2020-2023.
The Taskforce may consult with stakeholders to inform its deliberations and report back to the Minister in Q3 of this year.
Minister Ross said: “Tourism is our country’s largest indigenous employer and central to the economic and social health of the nation.
"The tourism sector has been near decimated by the current crisis. The vast majority of people working in this sector have either been laid off or are availing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
"There is a real risk that our communities, towns and cities will not recover from this devastating loss of income, employment and business.
"This cannot be allowed to happen.
"In order to ensure that the tourism sector can emerge from this pandemic ready for business, we need to plan early, plan well and plan together. To this end I am pleased to announce the formation of a dedicated Tourism Recovery Taskforce, made up of leaders from varying sections of the industry, who will work together to deal with the many challenges ahead in a dynamic and innovative manner.
"They will be chaired by Ruth Andrews [CEO of ITOA Ireland, Chair of ITIC, and Special Advisor to AVEA] and have agreed to lend their services voluntarily in order to support the industry at this critical time.
"I hope that the Taskforce will do its work quickly and efficiently and be in a position to report back to Government by the end of the summer.”
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. said; “In so many areas of rural Ireland in particular, tourism plays an important role in providing employment and economic opportunity. That employment and economic opportunity is now under serious threat and we must respond with determination to protect the tourism industry.
"This Taskforce will work to ensure that Irish tourism recovers strongly through a strategic and well formulated plan. I wish all of the Taskforce members and the wider stakeholders the best in the challenging times ahead and look forward to working with them all to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.”