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Address to the Irish Hospitality Institute’s ‘Hospitality and Tourism Professionals Day’

Thursday, 26th November, 2020

Tá áthas orm a bheith libh.

I am pleased to have the opportunity of sending my best wishes to all those taking part in the Irish Hospitality Institute’s virtual events series, particularly at this time of challenge and difficulty when you are so tested to find a resilience that has always been a mark of the hospitality industry.

This has been a most difficult year for all of us, but in a special way for those working in the hospitality sector. You have all been required to make enormous and exceptional sacrifices as efforts are made to protect public health and, at the same time, save, as best can be done, the core of the economy.

In doing so, addressing these exceptional circumstances, many of you have endured the greatest worry and anxiety over the very future of your businesses, jobs and the very security of your families and employees. So may I thank you for the generous spirit of solidarity with which you are responding to the Coronavirus crisis and, through your efforts, na h-iarrachtaí atá sibh á dhéanamh, contributing to the very survival of our society, preserving the foundations for a post-Covid recovery.

The relationship of the visitor and the visited, from the most ancient times to today can be understood as quite a moral one, drawing as it does on trust, friendship and the care of the stranger within an ethic of hospitality.

A country’s reputation is built on how this is delivered, how authentic its ethic of hospitality is. Throughout this challenging time, you have continued to put the safety of your customers ahead of your own needs.

By participating in the Irish Hospitality Institute’s virtual events series you are demonstrating resilience, showing the generous and creative vision with which you are handling, and responding to, the necessary restrictions and constraints on doing business that have been imposed on you in recent months. In doing so, may I suggest you are preserving the possibilities of a post-Covid future.

Indeed I have been greatly impressed by the many ways in which you have re-imagined your business environments, and transformed the ways in which you seek to function, as you constantly adapt to the changes imposed by this unprecedented time.

Your efforts show an enormous collective and individual will, show the moral courage that is called for in playing a part in transforming the world of business and thus ensuring that, together, we may navigate our way safely towards a shared and brighter future.

Being effective together on this project of defeating COVID-19, as it impinges on our lives, continues to require positive commitments from us all. We need to speak and encourage each other, to have a vision of the light that will surely come from all of our efforts when renewed and redoubled.

Tréaslaím libh is gabhaim buíochas libh.

I, for my part, as President of Ireland, wish to thank the Irish Hospitality Institute for their work in organising this important series of virtual events, and I wish you all a safe and secure future.

Beir beannacht.