|The Tourism and Hospitality sector is being targeted as a major player in Ireland's efforts to move beyond what has been a difficult economic situation.
Tourism-related enterprises provide an estimated 180,000 jobs throughout the country, across accommodation, restaurants, transport and tourist attractions (Source: 2012 Government Action Plan for Jobs).
CSO figures for 2012 show 6.51 million tourists from around the world visited Ireland during that year. In 2013, tourism numbers were up by 7%, making last year the best year for the sector since the downturn.
High profile visits from the Queen of England and The G8 Summit of World Leaders, with President Obama accompanied by his entire family - all broadcast internationally and showcasing for the world what Ireland has to offer. 'The Gathering' initiative additionally boosted tourist numbers significantly.
An estimated 133,000 people are employed in the accommodation and food service sectors alone, an increase of almost 12% (14,200 extra jobs) since 2012 (Source: Report on the Action Plan For Jobs - Quarter 4). Fáilte Ireland estimates total tourism employment (when other parts of the sector such as conferencing, attractions and festivals are included) to now be approaching 200,000 (Source: Annual Tourism Industry Review, January 2014). So, it is clear that Ireland continues to be an attractive destination to visit and tourism remains our biggest indigenous industry.
As well as being the National Tourism Development Authority in Ireland, Fáilte Ireland also has responsibility to encourage, promote and support the recruitment, training and education of people for the tourism industry.
Fáilte Ireland works in partnership with Tourism Ireland (who promote Ireland as a holiday destination to overseas markets) and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (responsible for tourism development and marketing in Northern Ireland). They lead an extensive domestic holiday campaign via www.discoverIreland.ie, which features comprehensive information and listings for Irish accommodation, activities, events, tourist attractions and Irish holiday special offers. Fáilte Ireland priorities for 2014 include:
- New initiatives such as ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘Dublin Plus’, and also a new proposition for the east and south of the country
- Business tourism and major events
- Home holidays
- The Gathering legacy
- Festivals and events
- Sales, digital and experience development.
[Check out the 'Ask the Experts' panel on this page for an overview of the sector from Fáilte Ireland]
The Hospitality industry has expanded beyond the traditional areas of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. In recent years we have seen the provision of catering at a wide range of additional facilities from food halls within supermarkets, to the burgeoning nursing home sector and institutional catering to sporting events - all have expanded the employment opportunities in hospitality.
Hotel and Accommodation
At the core of this vitally important industry is the Irish Hotel Sector which employs approximately 50,000 people in 850 hotels around the country. Expansion in hotel capacity in recent years has resulted in many hotels losing money in the downturn years and the Bed and Breakfast sector struggling to keep afloat, despite consistently being reported as the most memorable for visitors.
Reports for 2013 show that hotel occupancy in Dublin was higher in 2013 than it had ever been even during the boom, This was helped by the growth of business tourism from the Convention Centre in Dublin and a proliferation of events in the O2 and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, all of which have opened since the recession started.
Each hotel needs a large number of people, in a wide range of different roles in order to function properly. Career opportunities for people interested in this sector are wide and varied.
Some of the job roles include:
- Rooms Division - Front Office Manager; Reservations Manager; Guest Services Manager; Security Manager; - responsible for the effective management of the reception desk, reception staff and the number of bedroom sales in the hotel; safety and security of guests
- Receptionist - Works at the front desk of a hotel, resort, etc. and is the first person a guest deals with on arrival
- Accommodation Manager/Assistants - responsible for the cleanliness of bedrooms and all public areas of the hotel
- Events & Leisure - Director of Events; Conference and Banqueting Managment; Event Manager;
[Detailed information on individual occupations is available from the 'Sample Careers' panel on this page]
Careers in these roles are available in hotels, B&Bs Guesthouses, Hostels, Campsites and Holiday Villages all over Ireland. In addition to these roles are the managerial roles that keep the business side of things running. Managerial roles include:
- General Manager/Group General Manager
- Duty Manager
- Sales and Marketing Manager
- Human Resource Manager
Food and Beverage
The Food and Beverage sector covers all types of establishments supplying food and drinks, from hotels and restaurants, to pubs, clubs and venues. This sector attracts people who like to work with people, creating and serving meals, making cocktails, designing menus etc. These occupations require excellent social skills as people are working closely with each other and with the public.
Careers in the Food and Beverages area include:
- Commis Chef - entry level role of a chef – prepares dishes to be cooked, general kitchen work
- Restaurant Manager
- Sommelier - Wine expert
- Bar Staff
- Bar Manager
The tourism industry is worth approx €5 billion to the Irish Econmony with around 6 million visitors every year. Career opportunities exist in Ireland and overseas for young people at all levels from office administration to junior and senior management in a diverse range of tourism related organisations including:
- Tourism offices
- Tour Guides
- Travel Agents
- Reservation Centres
- Leisure Centres
- Cultural attractions
- Heritage Centres
- Tourist shops
Getting into the Tourism and Hospitality Sector
Given the potential for interesting and rewarding careers in these sectors, many young people are looking for suitable courses that will help prepare them for careers at different levels. Because of the competitive nature of these careers, staff with industry related qualifications tend to get the better jobs.
The Irish higher education system has a well developed range of courses, at all levels from PLCs (Post Leaving Cert) to Level 7 & Level 8 Degrees. When looking at courses in hospitality and tourism, there can seem to be a bewildering variety of course titles covering the main employment areas of travel, tourism, hotels and restaurants.
Typical titles include:
- Tourism Management
- Tourism Marketing
- Travel and Tourism
There are also joint degrees where it is possible to study combinations of subjects, such as Tourism and Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, Hospitality and Marketing.
Most undergraduate courses will include a period of work experience as part of the course, varying in length from 6 months to one year. This work experience is seen to be a central part of courses, where the student obtains the opportunity to practice what they have learned in college or university. Employers also see great value in this work experience when considering the employment of graduates.
Given the international nature of these industries, another valuable part of any course is the study of languages. Most courses in hospitality and tourism provide access to language courses, either as core components or as options.
In addition to the above courses, there are also more specialised courses in Tourism covering areas such as Cultural Tourism, Tourism Marketing, Tourism Planning, Museum Management, Heritage Management, Cultural Tourism and Sustainable Tourism: these are suitable for people who have an interest in employment in a specific sector of the industry.
Failte Ireland also provide skills training and work based training throughout Ireland for those who want to enter the sector more immediately, or want to complete their training whilst employed.
Earn and Learn Courses
If you’re eager to join the workforce and don’t want to go to college full-time then there are six ‘Earn & Learn’ programmes. These programmes make it easy for you:
- To go to college part time to receive a fully recognised qualification.
- Receive valuable paid work experience in a ‘best practice’ establishment in the tourism industry
- Your college fees are paid for by Fáilte Ireland (with the exception of the Trainee Manager Development Programme).
Employers who are part of this programme agree to let you go to college when your lectures or tutorials are on and there will also be someone at your place of employment who will be your personal ‘mentor’!
You need to have an employer to get into this course. Your employer will need to register with Fáilte Ireland and nominate you for the course. But if you don’t have an employer, the college may be able to advise you on finding one. Click on the links below for course details:
|The tourism industry is on course to deliver 7.5 million visitors to Ireland in 2014 and between 5,000 and 8,000 new jobs will be created, according to sector representative body the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) (December 2013).
Following the IHF Annual Conference, February 2014, reports of 3,000 current entry level job vacancies across the Hospitality sector were reported in the areas of
- Culinary Skills
- Complete Kitchen Management
- Food and Beverage Service
- Maintenance and Housekeeping functions