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Galway hoteliers upbeat for 2016

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Shay Livingstone, IHF Branch Chair Galway.

Galway’s hotel and guest house sector is approaching the New Year with renewed optimism – on the back of a strong twelve months of tourism growth.

That’s according to the latest quarterly barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation, which reveals that local hoteliers have benefitted from a 13% increase in overseas visitors to Ireland over the last year – including significant growth key markets such as North America (visitors up 13%), Britain (up 11%) and the rest of Europe (up 14%).

Some 92% of hotels and guesthouses now report a positive outlook for the next twelve months, with a similar number (90%) saying business levels are up on last year.

Domestic tourism and hospitality business is also performing well, although from a low base following years of subdued consumer confidence.

Some 85% of hoteliers report increased business this year from the home market, with people taking more trips at home and spending more money in the local economy.

This is important for the sector given demand from the island of Ireland accounts for the majority of all hotel bed nights (69%).

In the run up to Christmas, growing consumer confidence and recovery in the domestic economy has been clearly evident on the ground.

Of those hotels targeting Christmas functions, some 70% report that bookings for parties and events are up on last year.

The increase is being seen right across the board, reflecting the widespread optimism among businesses nationally as they seek to recognise the contribution made by their staff during the year.

Shay Livingstone, Chair of the Galway Branch of the IHF revealed that confidence among hoteliers continues to improve as the recovery in tourism strengthens.

The upturn is contributing to significant jobs growth with 64% of hotels and guesthouses having increased staffing levels this year and 57% planning to take on further staff over the next twelve months.

This builds on the 33,000 new jobs created by Irish tourism and hospitality businesses since 2011 – accounting for more than one of every three new jobs in Ireland over this period.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Consumer spend hit by inflation

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The average planned monthly spend among Irish consumers has decreased by ten per cent, according to Deloitte’s latest State of the Consumer Tracker.

The survey found that consumers in Ireland are ten per cent more concerned about inflation than the global average, with more than half (56 per cent) worried about their level of savings.

It also found that consumer confidence in engaging with businesses and services in person has increased over the last month; 80 per cent feel safe going to the store (up six per cent since the previous wave); 80 per cent feel safe engaging in one-to-one services such as hairdressing (up five per cent); 78 per cent feel safe going to a restaurant (up seven per cent); and 66 per cent feel safe attending in-person events (up ten per cent).

Despite this, financial concerns among consumers in Ireland have remained constant or lessened only slightly since the previous wave: 26 per cent are concerned about making upcoming payments (down two per cent); 52 per cent say they are delaying large purchases (no change); 44 per cent are optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve within the next three years (up one per cent); and 56 per cent are concerned about their level of savings (no change).

In fact, of the 23 countries surveyed, Ireland is the third-most-concerned about inflation, with 85 per cent of consumers in Ireland saying that they are concerned about inflation, compared to the global average of 75 per cent.

Consequently, the average planned monthly spend among consumers in Ireland has decreased by a significant ten per cent, from €2,654 in the previous wave to €2,396.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Delivering hope to Ukrainian arrivals

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Some of the Galway Rural Development team playing their part in helping Ukrainian arrivals (from left) Steve Dolan (CEO), Kathleen Cannon (RSS), Michael Stapleton (RSS), Martina Caulfield (Admin Officer) Sean Broderick (Senior Manager), Julie McGrath (Tús), Pat McGrath (Tús), Martin Collins (RSS), and Sinead Cox (Tús).

Galway Rural Development has been to the fore of the county response for the resettlement of Ukrainians across the county, having spent recent weeks supporting initiatives – from sorting donations to providing direct supports to the various centres in the county.

In addition, last week the GRD team were busy moving donated items across the county, to and from some of the main centres.

Senior Manager of GRD’s SICAP team Anne Cassidy revealed that they were organising donation drives for items into their offices for nearby centres – and they had recently received approval to redirect SICAP funding.

“It’s a huge challenge for the team and we intend on hiring a Ukrainian to work with us and help with translations and in terms of explaining rights, entitlements and so on,” she admitted.

But she also highlighted the wider county response.

“The Galway public continue to be very charitable. The local businesses and business owners we’ve contacted asking for targeted aid have been enormously generous, and indeed we’ve also already found several Ukrainians work, mainly in retail. The extent to which the county has responded has been remarkable,” she said.

GRD CEO Steve Dolan acknowledged that the new arrivals had been through so much – which made the reaction all the more critical.

“To see the response across Galway, from Kiltormer, to Kinvara, to Carna, can only make you proud,” he said.

“The groups in local communities have been so responsive from the welcome committees to the culture nights organised, and we have been supporting in every way we can.

“I can also only praise the work of the DSP, the HSE, and other organisations. At our end, we’ve hired a full-time Outreach Officer seconded to and funded by the HSE which links-in with our own SICAP and Tús-RSS teams,” he said.

And he revealed that GRD had taken its proposal for a Ukrainian-specific Tús programme directly to the Minister.

“These people need ‘purpose’ and are so keen to contribute,” he said.

“We are hopeful – given the benefits in terms of education and training, the contribution to mental and physical health, and especially in terms of integration and breaking language and cultural barriers – that our request will be granted.

“So many Ukrainians want to play a role in their new communities and we should support them in doing so,” he concluded.

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Giant leap for tech company as recruitment begins for new roles

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Minister Hildegarde Naughton, Anne-Marie Tierney-Le Roux, IDA Ireland and Gloria Loredo, Chief Transformation Officer, Poly, outside the Crown Square Campus this week.

Poly, the audio and video technology company, has begun recruiting staff for its new European headquarters in Galway.

Poly is the company which built the headset used by Neil Armstrong in 1969 to communicate one of the world’s most famous phrases from the moon.

The company formally signed the lease at the new Crown Square office development in Mervue, which will become its EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Centre of Excellence, employing 200 people.

Applications are open for a variety of roles across software engineering, sales, human resources, customer support, legal, and finance.

Scheduled to complete its fitout and open its doors later in the year, the company will create the 200 jobs over the next four years in its Research & Development lab – designed to serve as “the innovation heartbeat for the company’s 65 offices across the globe”.

New recruits will be based in the Crown Square development, which will also include offices and accommodation.

Galway West TD and Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton, said: “The world of work is changing, and with it comes highly distributed workforces and new hybrid working policies and practices. Global companies like Poly sit at the heart of that transformation and their commitment to Ireland, and especially Galway, is a great boost to our growing technology sector.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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