Failte Ireland publishes Government of Ireland operational guidelines developed with industry groups

September 15, 2020

Revised 15 September 2020

Living with COVID-19 Medium-Term Plan

On 15 September 2020, the Government launched its ‘Living with COVID-19 Medium-Term Plan’. This five-level roadmap will help control the spread of COVID-19. Fáilte Ireland is updating the Operational Guidelines to reflect the Government’s Public Health advice as part of the plan.

The Guidelines will be updated over the coming days but in the interim please view the Government’s Living with COVID-19 Medium-Term Plan

Fáilte Ireland has published Government of Ireland sector-specific operational guidelines for the tourism industry to ensure the safe re-opening of tourism businesses on 29 June.

The National Tourism Development Authority developed the guidelines based on Government of Ireland advice in association with industry groups; the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), the Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF), the Irish Caravan and Camping Council, the Association of Visitor Experiences (AVEA), Ireland’s Association of Adventure Tourism (IAAT) and B&B Ireland. Relevant Government departments including the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health, State agencies including the Health Service Executive (HSE), wider Government and the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) were also consulted in the drafting of these operational guidelines which are in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

The guidelines provide detailed advice on the necessary systems to be implemented in order to instil public confidence and reboot business while adhering to public health advice and Government protocols. They are the first in a suite of new supports being rolled out by Fáilte Ireland to help tourism businesses to recover and re-open safely.

The guidelines are now live on Fáilte Ireland’s dedicated COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

Read the sector-specific guidelines for re-opening:

Fáilte Ireland’s sector specific operational guidelines will be regularly updated in line with Government public health advice as and when this advice evolves. This includes any further guidance that is given following work by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and National Public Health Emergency Team on the application of the existing social distancing requirements in specific, defined and controlled environments in the hospitality industry during periods of low incidence of the disease.

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said the new guidelines are a ‘critical part in helping tourism businesses re-open safely’:

“Throughout this crisis we have been working with tourism and hospitality businesses to give them the guidance and supports they urgently need. The next phase of our response is recovery, re-opening and rebuilding the tourism industry and renewing its vital contribution to job creation and regional development.

This is the greatest crisis our industry has ever faced and the reality is that many tourism businesses will not be in a position to re-open. The purpose of the operational guidelines we have developed in collaboration with industry groups is to try to help those businesses that can re-open their doors to do so safely. I would like to thank the industry groups, individual businesses, worker representation groups, relevant State agencies, Government departments and all those involved in the development of these guidelines. We will continue to focus all of our resources on providing critical operational and business supports to ensure the re-opening of as many tourism businesses as possible and to safeguard the viability of our tourism industry.” 

Jenny De Saulles, Director of Sector Development at Fáilte Ireland, added:

“We have worked closely with a number of industry groups and an infection control expert to develop these operational guidelines that will equip tourism and hospitality businesses with the necessary information and advice to enable them to re-open safely while also helping to instil public confidence.  Our consumer tracker research is finding that health and safety protocols in premises and ‘safe breaks’ are emerging as strong themes as people plan their domestic holiday.”

Speaking about the guidelines for re-opening, Tim Fenn, Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, said:

“The health and safety of employees and guests will always be our main priority. Hotels have already begun to adapt their services and facilities in anticipation of reopening under COVID-19 guidelines and the publication of these standards gives them further clarity on what they must do, while providing important reassurance for guests that they can book and look forward to an enjoyable and safe staycation in an Irish hotel this year. Ireland’s hotels have a well-earned reputation globally for their high service standards and we will be applying that same commitment to the implementation of these new standards.”

Jacinta Doolan, Chair of the Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF):

“The ISCF welcomes the guidelines prepared by Fáilte Ireland outlining the protocols for the re-opening of the self-catering sector, currently proposed for June 29th. The safety of staff and visitors is our priority and well covered in the document. It is very important to be working with Fáilte Ireland to offer assurance to our staff and guests.”

Con Quill, CEO of the Irish Caravan and Camping Council:

“We are grateful to Fáilte Ireland for the development of these operational guidelines on our behalf to support the re-opening of our businesses. We can now focus on the health and safety of guests and staff, providing a safe environment while ensuring our guests enjoy a well-earned and memorable stay.”

Niall O’Callaghan, Chairman of the Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AVEA):

“The development of re-opening guidelines is an essential element of the toolkit required by members of AVEA to provide confidence in re-opening attractions across Ireland. The safety of AVEA members, customers and staff always comes first; therefore this detailed and insightful document, created in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, will provide an enormous sense of reassurance to our members that they can re-open in the knowledge that they have the best available advice and procedures in place. Without these guidelines, re-opening would be an extremely daunting, and potentially insurmountable, task.”

Brendan Kenny, CEO of Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT):

“The Activities sector is looking forward to welcoming customers back throughout the summer. We’re delighted to work off Fáilte Ireland’s comprehensive operational guidelines, giving real confidence to our customers and staff. In Ireland we have the stunning natural landscape for all sorts of adventure, so we encourage everyone to get out there with your families or households – safely returning to your passion or to try something new!”

Helena Healy, CEO of B&B Ireland said:

“I am delighted to see the release of the guidelines for re-opening the B&B sector. It is a very positive document that will help all B&B Operators to get their homes ready for opening. In addition, it will give reassurance to the customer that B&B properties have implemented the necessary additional protocols to comply with the required regulations to ensure their safety in this COVID-19 world that we live in right now”.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Fáilte Ireland has created an online COVID-19 Business Support Hub for the tourism and hospitality industry which includes expert guidance and practical supports on business liquidity, insurance, HR risk, safeguarding future revenues, and more1.  

Following the development of the new guidelines for safe re-opening, Fáilte Ireland is working with tourism businesses to support them to determine the capacity of their business and the financial implications of this new operating model. A new suite of financial recovery supports, a ‘Calculating Capacity’ tool and supports around HR for re-opening are now available on the COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

To access the new Fáilte Ireland operational guidelines for re-opening and to find out more about Fáilte Ireland’s suite of free supports, please visit the online COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

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For further information please contact:

Lucy Cefai

Communications Officer – + 353 1 884 7105 / M: +353 86 460 7845

Note for editor

1Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Response

Fáilte Ireland,as the National Tourism Development Authority,responded to the crisis by immediately setting up a Business Supports Taskforce to establish and address the supports and interventions required by the industry, in both the short and long term to ensure the survival and successful relaunch of the industry. Fáilte Ireland’s immediate interventions were focused on supporting the industry to survive and shut down their operations safely and effectively to be in a position to reopen safely and effectively. This included guidance on accessing Government and financial supports, as well as expert guidance and supports on business liquidity, insurance, HR risk, safeguarding future revenues, and more.

These supports are all hosted on a dedicated online Supports Hub on the Fáilte Ireland website. Already, these supports have been accessed by thousands of businesses across the country (almost 100,000 visits to date).

Fáilte Ireland’s next phase of interventions and supports is now focused on Recovery and Preparing to Open Safely. This will include bespoke supports on some of the most vital drivers of successful recovery, including financial plans for recovery, operational management procedures to open safely and effectively, asset utilization and capacity management, demand creation and marketing, as well as upskilling industry.

Business Supports email LoCall 1800-242 473 (Mon–Fri 09:00–17:00).

Fáilte Ireland

As the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland’s role is to support the long-term sustainable growth in the economic, social, cultural and environmental contribution of tourism to Ireland. Tourism is of critical importance to the national economy and to regional development and employment. Pre-coronavirus, the sector generated revenue of €7.5billion annually and supported 260,000 jobs nationwide while contributing €1.7billion to the Exchequer.

We work in partnership with Government, State agencies, Local Authorities, representative groups and industry, to develop tourism across Ireland by creating destination development plans and networks, investing in infrastructure, activities, visitor attractions and festivals.  Fáilte Ireland also provides consumer and buyer insights, mentoring, business supports and training programmes and buyer platforms to help tourism businesses innovate and grow.

In addition, Fáilte Ireland supports Business Tourism, managing the bidding for and securing of larger conferences, meetings and events to be hosted in Ireland.

We are also responsible for domestic holiday marketing across four regional experience brands: Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin.