Offaly hospitality sector creates over 2,000 jobs

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly hospitality sector creates over 2,000 jobs

Offaly hospitality and drinks businesses employ 2,158 people and generate €26 million in revenue for local tourism economy, a new study has revealed

New report by Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) highlights the importance of sector to national and local economies, but warns high excise tax and Brexit are grave threats. Local publican John Clendennen said: “A reduction in excise tax is required to make Ireland a better value holiday destination.”

Hospitality and drinks businesses, including pubs, hotels, off-licences, restaurants, wholesalers and producers, employ 2,158 people in Offaly, generating €26 million in revenue for the local tourism economy.

These businesses also purchase €1 million in agricultural outputs and pay out €43.5 million in wages each year.

The report outlines the importance of the drinks and hospitality sector to the overall national economy, and to local economies across the country, particularly in rural Ireland.

However, Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax—the second highest in the EU—is jeopardising the future growth of hospitality and drinks businesses, including those in Offaly, as tourists seek more affordable holiday destinations, according to the report.

This is particularly the case for British tourists. 40 percent of all visitors to Ireland originate from the UK, but a slump in sterling value following the Brexit referendum has already had a significant impact. Between January and March 2017, 55,300 fewer British tourists travelled to Ireland compared to the same period last year.

SEE MORE: Offaly officially has more pubs than Laois

Commenting on the findings, Offaly publican John Clendennen, proprietor of Giltraps Pub in Birr and DIGI member, said: “The findings of this DIGI report clearly show the huge importance of the drinks and hospitality sector to Offaly’s economy. It supports thousands of jobs and generates millions of euros in revenue for local tourism and suppliers."

“However, it’s also clear that the sector is in a precarious position as a result of high levels of excise tax on alcohol and the impact of Brexit. Our pub culture is a huge draw for tourists, but with fewer British tourists visiting Ireland due to reduced spending power, our pubs, hotels, restaurants and off-licences will do less business. We must take action to avoid job losses, and that requires a reduction in excise tax to make Ireland a better value holiday destination,” he continued. 

The report was launched yesterday to mark the beginning of Support Your Local 2017, a DIGI campaign that seeks to highlight the economic, cultural and social contributions of local pubs, and calls for a reduction in Ireland’s alcohol excise tax.

Ireland’s Hospitality and Drinks Sector and Your Constituency report can be read by clicking here.

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