Donegal will be less resilient to Covid-19 shocks than other Irish counties due to its reliance on tourism, EY Ireland has warned.
Some 13% of all jobs in Donegal are directly dependent on the tourism and hospitality sector, making it one of the counties that will be most vulnerable to a downturn in travel.
Many more jobs in the county are supported by hospitality-related supply chains and wages earned by staff in the sector.
A new report by EY Ireland warns that the impact of Covid-19 restrictions will be disproportionately felt in counties such as Donegal and Kerry because they have fewer alternative sectors that could compensate for job losses.
The consulting and professional services firm has recommended a rapid and sustainable financial support package for the Irish tourism sector. Firms in the sector will also need to adapt their business plans to respond to fast-evolving government restrictions and to target new, local markets.
The measures should also aim to build resilience and to capitalise on opportunities in new travel trends that may exist post-crisis such a greater desire to take holidays in un-crowded, rural locations.
Yannick Cabrol, Economic Strategy Manager, EY Ireland, said domestic tourism will be the key to the sector’s recovery: “After the immediate health concerns are addressed, people will have less disposable income due to the economic impact of the pandemic. They are also likely to have a reduced willingness to travel far from home. Our view that the ‘grass is always greener’ elsewhere and that extensive international travel is essential to human happiness is being challenged.
“While we must continue the longstanding Irish tradition of welcoming overseas visitors with our famous hospitality, many of us are turning our thoughts to how we can enjoy our national heritage and natural beauty more. Growing domestic and sustainable tourism will be essential elements of the recovery.”