Week’s events (Part I): Youth travel, Irish hospitality & road safety

28th September, 2014

This week’s ‘week’s events’ are being split in two, as the latter half of the week sees me in Boston for events that showcase Ireland in the US in a bid to further increase our share of the tourism market there. They are iFest and Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’, which takes place in Chicago and Boston (blog to follow).

The earlier part of the week, however, took me to the 23rd World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) at the Convention Centre, Dublin. This is the first time the event, which hosted more than 700 participants, from over 450 businesses, and more than 100 countries, has been held in Ireland.

Recognised as the biggest youth travel, face-to-face sales and networking event in the global travel calendar, the aim of the conference is to tap into the youth travel market and to seek out the most effective ways of developing this growing sector.

I spoke about how this kind of travel is the social glue for holding the benefits of globalisation together. I also made a very strong pitch for Ireland as a location and source for this kind of travel.

Having the Convention Centre Dublin chosen for this globally significant event demonstrates the attractiveness, not only of the world class facilities we have on offer, but, of our capital city as a business tourism destination. Capturing markets such as this, and winning the opportunity to host these events, are central to the Government’s agenda, as they put us front and centre on the world stage and help us in our number one priority of job creation.

The AA Hospitality Awards were also held this week, which acknowledge the hard work and efforts of those on the frontline of our hotel and accommodation sector. It was a privilege to present the awards on the night and to address the participants. The pride of all those attending in their industry was evident. Inspiring stuff.

The hospitality sector has been running to standstill in recent years, with great changes having been put in place by our hotel and B&B owners, in order to stay afloat. Initiatives such as The Gathering and the Wild Atlantic Way, and measures such as the 9% VAT rate and the reduction in the travel tax to zero, were implemented by Government to bolster the sector and give it the support it needed to get back on its feet. I am working to maintain these supports.

I also had a meeting with Roseanne Brennan and her family this week, who tragically buried their son recently following a road accident. I have been, and continue to work with Roseanne in a bid to seek the most effective ways of making our roads safer for our children and to preventing additional needless deaths in the future.

Many meetings with state bodies and agencies filled all the time in between. I also continued to exchange letters with Ryanair in relation to the draft determination from the Commission for Aviation Regulation. Also worked on a number of constituency matters during the week, meeting residents from East Wall and Cabra.

Enjoying the new Tana French novel ‘The Secret Place’, published by Hachette Books Ireland. She is one of our leading Irish novelists and this crime novel is every bit as good as her previous works.