At its annual graduation ceremony, students of Shannon College of Hotel Management were assured that their particular sector will weather the fall-out Britain’s exit from the EU better than most. In all 87 students from 12 countries graduated from the college which has been renowned for its 100% employment rate during its 66 year history.
The new graduates were addressed by head of college Dr Phillip Smyth and former student Colm Hannon, now CEO of Adare Manor. Both speakers stated that the career they have chosen will see off any Brexit impacts. Dr Smyth assured his acolytes that they are embarking on careers in an industry that has positive growth forecasts despite Brexit uncertainty.
“There is undoubtedly going to be an impact from Brexit for the industry and it’s already being felt but overall tourism is going to weather this storm a lot better than other sectors,” he predicted. “Exchange rates are already a challenge but this is a flexible industry and the major plus for tourism is the growth of travel. There’s very significant growth in inbound tourism, particularly from the likes of the US and Europe so we are confident that will offset any effect that Brexit is having. But it is also very important that state agencies tasked with promoting Ireland as a destination overseas receive sufficient funding to compete.”
In his address Colm Hannon, who is overseeing the redevelopment of Adare Manor Resort, claimed the five star hotel sector in particular is very much insulated against Brexit impact. “We are a little different in that the UK market made up a lower percentage of our business in the past, somewhere in the region of 10%. Approximately 65% of our business has been from the US and that will continue to be the lion’s share of the Adare Manor market. By and large, our end of the market will overcome any Brexit impact through growth in other areas”.
Mr Hannon added, “There are obviously risk factors with Brexit and one of the areas of concern are travel conveniences for certain nations when they come to the UK who have the right to link into Ireland without needing any additional approvals. When the UK is out of the EU that may well not apply so that is a challenge we need to deal with. Ironically we actually see growth opportunity in the UK as we believe there is potential to grow our market there, particularly now that we are creating a five-star conferencing and banqueting offering.”
The Adare Manor CEO graduated from the Shannon College 30 years ago, his wife Sue is also a graduate and their children, Shane and Ciara, currently study there. “This is a special place. While it is largely up to the individual after they leave here, every graduate goes with a Shannon College badge that has very strong international currency,” he added.
Shannon College of Hotel Management has been part of NUI Galway’s campus for several year NUIG president Dr James Browne announced that the college has launched Ireland’s first post-experience certificate course in hotel Leadership. The course will provide managers and senior staff with a practical understanding of leadership as it applies to the hotel and hospitality sector. It is the only university-awarded certificate programme, exclusively for hoteliers, developed and delivered in Ireland.