Kilkenny Hoteliers today hailed the official launch of The Gathering, saying the year-long programme of festivals will provide a tremendous boost for local tourism businesses. Bettie-Marie Burger Smit, Chair of the South East Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) states that the initiative is a very welcome example of the pro-tourism approach taken by the Government in support of one Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.
Ms Bettie-Marie Burger Smit said that the Gathering provides local communities and tourism enterprises with a platform to showcase the tremendous range of attractions and cultural activities that Kilkenny has to offer and will go a long way to putting Ireland back on the map as a leading tourism destination.
“Enormous energy is now building behind The Gathering and next year looks set to be a wonderful year for Irish tourism,” states Ms Bettie-Marie Burger Smit. “As the backbone of Ireland’s tourism industry, hotels and guesthouses are fully behind the initiative and look forward to working with local community groups to ensure its success.”
Ms Bettie-Marie Burger Smit states that, by putting tourism at the heart of its growth strategy, the Government clearly recognises the sector’s potential to act as a substantial driver of economic recovery and job creation. This is borne out by the energy and commitment it has shown in galvanising the entire tourism industry behind The Gathering.
With 180,000 people employed in tourism across the country, the industry supports one in every 10 jobs - of which 54,000 are employed in the hotels and guesthouse sector across every village, town and city. Derived spend from every tourist euro is enormous for the Government with approximately 65 cent in every euro going back by way of some form of tax or levy.