THERE are growing concerns that on-going travel disruption caused by the Icelandic ash cloud could have a devastating impact on tourism this summer season.

Airports were operating as normal yesterday morning, but there could be further disruption on the cards this week with predictions that a change in wind directions could bring the cloud back into Irish airspace.

Concerns are now being expressed that the unpredictability for flight schedules will have a serious impact on visitors coming to Ireland this summer as well as those planning to travel overseas for a summer holiday.

Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin is due to meet with industry representatives on the issue today.
Helena Healy from the Ballyshannon-based organisation ‘B&B Ireland' said with accommodation providers already dealing with the general downturn, the ash cloud issue is a source of grave concern as they face into the summer months.

Airlines are again advising all passengers to check with their airlines before heading to the airports because this current situation is changing hour-by-hour and windows once open for flying are suddenly being closed as the ash cloud continues to sweep round through Southern, Northern and Central Europe.