Press Release


Encouraging Young People to Consider a Future in Tourism


Caption: Joe Dolan, President IHF, Mary Rose Stafford, Institute of Technology Tralee, Minister of State for Tourism, Patrick O’Donovan T.D, Natasha Kinsella, FIHI, (Programme Co-Founder) Regional Skills Manager Dublin, and John Mulcahy, Failte Ireland.


Caption – National Tourism Careers Programme Key Partners – John Mulcahy, Faitle Ireland, Joe Dolan, President IHF, Minister of State Tourism, Patrick O’Donovan T.D, Natasha Kinsella FIHI, Programme Co-Founder Regional Skills Manager Dublin, Mary Rose Stafford, Institute of Technology Tralee, Tim Fenn CEO, IHF with some profiles from the programme: The Conrad Hotel, The Gleneagle Group, Jurys Inn Group, The Doyle Collection, PREM Group, Lee Hotels.

  • Irish tourism now on track to support an additional 40,000 new jobs by 2021
  • Tourism businesses need to recruit over 6,000 entry-level employees each year
  • Enormous career opportunities throughout the country for young people

Thursday, 29th September 2016: A national tourism careers programme highlighting the wealth of employment opportunities in Irish tourism was launched today by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan, TD. The industry-led programme is designed to enable second-level students aged 15-18 to explore the full range of exciting career paths and options available throughout the country. It is being run in close collaboration with tourism and hospitality businesses, which currently need to recruit over 6,000 entry-level employees each year across all areas of their operations.

Targeting over 800 post-primary schools and youth reach centres, the initiative is being run by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and the Irish Hospitality Institute (IHI) in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. It includes an interactive online programme for students and teachers (Tourism Insight) developed by the Institute of Technology Tralee and a free digital and print magazine on tourism career options (Get a Life in Tourism). This is being supported by a student work experience programme, school talks by industry professionals and a series of regional careers events. With over 40 different career choices, there is a wide range of options for young people across areas such as food and beverage; catering; accommodation services; reception; leisure centre and spa facility management; sales and marketing; human resources; IT; management and finance.

Tourism is one of Ireland’s largest employers, supporting some 220,000 jobs and having created 50,000 new jobs since 2011. Last year, Ireland attracted over 8 million overseas visitors and total tourism revenue was €7.5 billion, of which foreign exchange earnings amounted to €6 billion. Overseas visitors were up over 12% by August this year and the domestic market continues to show improvement.

This continued growth in tourism is creating thousands of additional employment opportunities for young people. With tourism now on track to create a further 40,000 new jobs by 2021, there is an increasing need for the industry to attract skilled employees – which continues to be a challenge for many tourism businesses, including hotels and guesthouses.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., said

“Tourism is one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors, demonstrating great prospects for continued growth supported by strong Government policy. Few sectors provide such a wide range of opportunities throughout the country for people across a variety of skills levels, backgrounds and interests. The various strands of the new tourism careers programme should grab the attention of our young people and open their eyes to the exciting employment and development opportunities in this growing sector – not only the variety of jobs available but also the prospects for continued progression and the chance to make a good career out of tourism”.

The National Tourism Careers Programme brings key industry partners together to promote tourism as a rewarding and exciting career opportunity and encourage more young people to explore the options and career paths on offer. It will be available to second level students and career guidance teachers in over 800 post-primary schools and youth reach centres through:

  • Tourism Insight,, a new interactive free online programme, providing videos and interactive tutorials on working in tourism. Developed in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Tralee, the programme is split across 6 new units and can be delivered as part of class in school or for students to complete in their own time at home.


  • Get a Life in Tourism,, a free print and digital magazine providing an essential guide to the various careers available across the tourism industry. It includes comprehensive information on educational courses and showcases the career paths of young people in the industry.


  • A student work experience programme providing transition year students with a real-life introduction to the vast array of career options available in the tourism and hospitality sector. This is being rolled out in partnership with hotels and other tourism-related businesses across all 26 counties.

According to Joe Dolan, President of the IHF, tourism offers life-long opportunity for those who have an interest in a people oriented and customer focused job. “Tourism is returning to strong growth and continues to play a hugely influential role in Ireland’s economic success. As such it is a tremendous time for young people to enter the industry where there is literally limitless potential to develop a career across a range of specialist areas. The tourism industry has become highly sophisticated in how it serves, targets and supports our visitors’ needs. Future employees with the right skill set and a genuine enthusiasm and passion for working in a fast paced people oriented sector excel and rise to the top of their field,” he says. “This innovative new approach aims to engage our future potential employees; our students today to explore the many career entry options available, including hundreds of specialist third-level courses throughout the country.”

Commenting on behalf of the IHI, Natasha Kinsella (programme co-founder), Regional Skills Manager Dublin, acknowledged the close industry collaboration underpinning Tourism Insight. The programme was jointly developed by the IHI and Mary Rose Stafford in the Institute of Technology, Tralee with the support of key tourism stakeholders.

“Now is a very exciting time for young people pursuing a career in tourism given the excellent prospects and promotional opportunities on offer throughout the industry,” says Ms Kinsella. “It is important that students explore all the educational options available to them when thinking about this stage in their life and future career path. This new online programme, the first of its kind providing a clear response for 21st century learning needs for young people while informing a key target audience, students, parents and teachers to influence their future choices. This is where the Tourism Insight programme comes into its own, as a free resource, giving young people a comprehensive introduction to one of our most rewarding industries and finding out what life in tourism and hospitality is really like. The programme is packed with tutorials, videos and interviews – all delivered through an innovation free online format at”

Speaking at today’s launch, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Hospitality John Mulcahy emphasised: “Sometimes, in the national conversation which takes place around the CAO system and Leaving Cert points, a future in tourism can be unfairly neglected by commentators. However, I believe that with greater awareness of the opportunities on offer, we can encourage many more young people to enthusiastically embrace a career in the sector. Tourism has the ability to unlock the potential in many young people but, crucially, it offers a career path in so many different directions.

“If you are enthusiastic about business, there are great management roles within the sector and if you are creative with words there are exciting marketing opportunities. Obviously for those with a passion for food, there is a myriad of choices in the industry and for those who love working with people there are many different front of house positions to choose from. Working in tourism also allows young people great flexibility to stretch themselves – whether through moving up or across different roles in the sector or travelling around the world to ply their skills in the global tourism sector before coming back home to create cutting edge experiences for our visitors.”


Tourism Insight
Tourism Insight has been developed by the IHI and the Institute of Technology, Tralee, with support from Fáilte Ireland and the IHF. This free online interactive programme, available at, is split into six units that can be completed in school as part of classes or for students at home in their own time. Through interactive tutorials and interviews with young people working in tourism in Ireland today, it gives you a comprehensive introduction to the industry and its landscape, what it means to the country, what’s going on in the different tourism regions in Ireland and the marketing aspects of promoting Ireland as a destination. As well as arming all learners with information about careers it also shows the steps that can be taken to get started in the industry whether it’s through CAO, direct entry or PLC provision, where learners can take part in some great training schemes on offer that suits. It offers links to regional businesses where students have options to undertake site visits and work placement. At an international level the schools can participate in GTTP (Global Travel & Tourism Partnership) global competitions to represent Ireland on the world stage. An Irish unit will also begin development to specifically illustrate the importance of the Irish Language experience.

In addition to Fáilte Ireland and the IHF, the development of the programme was supported by the following: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Department of Education and Skills; Tourism Ireland and the Restaurants Association of Ireland as well as major employers in the industry including – The Doyle Collection, Dalata Hotel Group, Jurys Inn Group, Compass, Dublin Institute of Technology, The Conrad, The Gleneagle Hotel Group, Irish Travel Agents Association, TravelPort, The Lee Hotel Group, PREM Group, Muckross House, Foras Na Gaeilge, IBEC and GTTP.

Get a Life in Tourism
The Get a Life in Tourism print and digital magazine for students and career guidance teachers has been developed by the IHF with support from Fáilte Ireland. The magazine contains comprehensive information on all of the various careers available in the sector, including a section on going to college with details of 37 institutions offering tourism-related courses. It provides a series of ‘Day in the Life’ interviews with young people working in the industry and profiles of third level students. It gives a realistic insight of what to expect from a career in the tourism and hospitality sector. The online version is free to download from



Information on the National Tourism Careers Programme:
Ger McCarthy /Barry Ryan Dublin office: 01 6798600
Weber Shandwick Mobile: 086 233 3590 / 085 728 7326

Information specifically on ‘Tourism Insight’:
Natasha Kinsella (Programme Co-Founder)
Regional Skills Manager Dublin Mobile: 0868377286 /

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport: 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093