Businesses in Galway face several challenges in 2013, as a result of Budget 2013’s impact on household spending power and consumer confidence.
That’s according to the CEO of Galway Chamber Michael Coyle, who said that businesses in the domestic economy had responded “magnificently” to difficult trading conditions over the last five years and must continue this strategy in 2013.
He predicted that there was “pent up demand” as a result of non-spending over the past five years but said consumers were “chasing value” and online purchasing was a “growing threat and opportunity” to the industry. He added that the services sector would remain challenged in the coming months, as clients strived to remain challenged.
Mr Coyle said the tourism economy in Galway had outperformed most other centres in Ireland, due to the quality of its festival programme and positive reputation for value for money and excellent entertainment value.
“Galway has always been an attractive option for the domestic tourist and, in this respect, it has benefited from the downturn in overseas holidaying. The Gathering initiative will be a boost to Galway. Over the last couple of years, Galway has developed into a genuinely exciting place to eat with a host of new high quality restaurants to complement the existing long established ones,” he said.
He added that he believed that the multi-national and export economy in Galway would continue to perform strongly in 2013 and that a “genuine MedTech cluster” in Galway was evident at the recent IMDA Conference held in the city.
Among the strongest assets held by Galway in this area, according to Mr Coyle, are the steady feed of graduates from NUI Galway and GMIT, the rapidly expanding games and IT sector, and the emerging alternative energy and marine sections, which are poised for significant growth in the next 12 months.
“The challenge for Ireland is to continue to attract foreign direct investment while at the same time continuing to provide the supports and the incentives to encourage Irish SMEs to innovate and grow, especially in export markets. The annual challenge from our EU partners regarding our 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate must be vigorously fended off in 2013.”
And he urged local businesses to take full advantage of networking opportunities in 2013, saying that significant volumes of business can be generated by companies in the West doing business with each other.
“Irrespective of the sector, the benefits to be derived from actively networking include additional sales, reduced costs, collaboration opportunities, shared services, access to new customers and markets and sharing of expertise,” he said.
For a further analysis of the business year ahead, see our special feature in the Business Forum section.