Fáilte Ireland publishes operational guidelines with industry groups for the safe re-opening and rebuilding of the tourism and hospitality industry

Fáilte Ireland has published sector specific operational guidelines for the tourism industry to ensure the safe re-opening of tourism businesses on June 29th.

The National Tourism Development Authority developed the guidelines in collaboration with industry groups; the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), the Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF), the Irish Caravan and Camping Council, the Association of Visitor Experiences (AVEA), Ireland’s Association of Adventure Tourism (IAAT) and B&B Ireland. Relevant Government departments including the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health, State agencies including the Health Service Executive (HSE), wider Government and the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) were also consulted in the drafting of these operational guidelines which are in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

The guidelines provide detailed advice on the necessary systems to be implemented in order to instil public confidence and reboot business while adhering to public health advice and Government protocols. They are the first in a suite of new supports being rolled out by Fáilte Ireland to help tourism businesses to recover and re-open safely.

The guidelines are live on Fáilte Ireland’s dedicated COVID-19 Business Support Hub on www.failteireland.ie.

Sector specific guidelines are available for:

  • Hotels & Guesthouses
  • Self-Catering businesses
  • Caravan & Camping businesses
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Activity Providers
  • B&Bs & Historic Houses
  • Restaurants & Cafes

Fáilte Ireland’s sector specific operational guidelines will be regularly updated in line with Government public health advice as and when this advice evolves. This includes any further guidance that is given following work by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and National Public Health Emergency Team on the application of the existing social distancing requirements in specific, defined and controlled environments in the hospitality industry during periods of low incidence of the disease.

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said the new guidelines are a ‘critical part in helping tourism businesses re-open safely’:

“Throughout this crisis we have been working with tourism and hospitality businesses to give them the guidance and supports they urgently need. The next phase of our response is recovery, re-opening and rebuilding the tourism industry and renewing its vital contribution to job creation and regional development


This is the greatest crisis our industry has ever faced and the reality is that many tourism businesses will not be in a position to re-open. The purpose of the operational guidelines we have developed in collaboration with industry groups is to try to help those businesses that can re-open their doors to do so safely. I would like to thank the industry groups, individual businesses, worker representation groupsrelevant State agencies, Government departments and all those involved in the development of these guidelines. We will continue to focus all of our resources on providing critical operational and business supports to ensure the re-opening of as many tourism businesses as possible and to safeguard the viability of our tourism industry.”  

Jenny De Saulles, Director of Sector Development at Fáilte Ireland, added:

“We have worked closely with a number of industry groups and an infection control expert to develop these operational guidelines that will equip tourism and hospitality businesses with the necessary information and advice to enable them to re-open safely while also helping to instil public confidence.  Our consumer tracker research is finding that health and safety protocols in premises and ‘safe breaks’ are emerging as strong themes as people plan their domestic holiday.”


Speaking about the guidelines for re-opening, Tim Fenn, Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, said:


“The health and safety of employees and guests will always be our main priority. Hotels have already begun to adapt their services and facilities in anticipation of reopening under COVID-19 guidelines and the publication of these standards gives them further clarity on what they must do, while providing important reassurance for guests that they can book and look forward to an enjoyable and safe staycation in an Irish hotel this year. Ireland’s hotels have a well-earned reputation globally for their high service standards and we will be applying that same commitment to the implementation of these new standards.”


Jacinta Doolan, Chair of the Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF):

The ISCF welcomes the guidelines prepared by Fáilte Ireland outlining the protocols for the re-opening of the selfcatering sector, currently proposed for June 29th. The safety of staff and visitors is our priority and well covered in the document. It is very important to be working with Fáilte Ireland to offer assurance to our staff and guests.

Con Quill, CEO of the Irish Caravan and Camping Council:

We are grateful to Fáilte Ireland for the development of these operational guidelines on our behalf to support the reopening of our businesses. We can now focus on the health and safety of guests and staff, providing a safe environment while ensuring our guests enjoy a well-earned and memorable stay.

Niall O’Callaghan, Chairman of the Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AVEA):

“The development of re-opening guidelines is an essential element of the toolkit required by members of AVEA to provide confidence in reopening attractions across Ireland. The safety of AVEA members, customers and staff always comes first; therefore this detailed and insightful document, created in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, will provide an enormous sense of reassurance to our members that they can reopen in the knowledge that they have the best available advice and procedures in place. Without these guidelines, reopening would be an extremely daunting, and potentially insurmountable, task.”

Brendan Kenny, CEO of Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT):

“The Activities sector is looking forward to welcoming customers back throughout the summer. We’re delighted to work off Fáilte Ireland’s comprehensive operational guidelines, giving real confidence to our customers and staff. In Ireland we have the stunning natural landscape for all sorts of adventure, so we encourage everyone to get out there with your families or households – safely returning to your passion or to try something new!

Helena Healy, CEO of B&B Ireland said:

“I am delighted to see the release of the guidelines for re-opening the B&B sector. It is a very positive document that will help all B&B Operators to get their homes ready for opening. In addition, it will give reassurance to the customer that B&B properties have implemented the necessary additional protocols to comply with the required regulations to ensure their safety in this COVID-19 world that we live in right now”. 

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Fáilte Ireland has created an online COVID-19 Business Support Hub for the tourism and hospitality industry which includes expert guidance and practical supports on business liquidity, insurance, HR risk, safeguarding future revenues, and more1.

Following the development of the new guidelines for safe re-opening, Fáilte Ireland is working with tourism businesses to support them to determine the capacity of their business and the financial implications of this new operating model. A new suite of financial recovery supports, a ‘Calculating Capacity’ tool and supports around HR for re-opening are now available on the COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

To access the new Fáilte Ireland operational guidelines for re-opening and to find out more about Fáilte Ireland’s suite of free supports, please visit the online COVID-19 Business Support Hub.

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