DUBLIN (XINHUA) – The revenue of the Irish tourism sector could fall by close to 75 per cent in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, said a senior member of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) on Saturday.
Maurice Pratt, a member of the board and former chair of ITIC, told local media RTE that his organisation predicted that the annual income of the Irish tourism sector could fall to EUR2.4 billion (USD2.7 billion) this year from last year’s EUR9.4 billion.
This will put as many as 200,000 people working in the sector at risk, he warned, adding that the Irish tourism sector employs an estimated 265,000 workers.
Latest figures from the country’s national statistics bureau CSO showed that the number of overseas trips to Ireland plunged by 98.4 per cent over a year ago to a meager 28,300 in May on top of a 99.1-per-cent drop in April.
During the first five months of this year, only over 3.12 million people arrived in Ireland from overseas, down nearly 58 per cent from the same period last year, according to the CSO figures.
The Irish tourism sector largely relies on overseas tourists. Last year more than 10.8 million overseas tourists visited Ireland, contributing more than EUR6 billion to the country’s tourism industry.
The Irish government earlier announced that it will open up the country to tourists from low-risk countries starting from July 9. However, reports by local media said that the date could be delayed due to concerns over imported cases of COVID-19.