The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has stated that more needs to be done to protect Irish tourism from Brexit.
A “Brexit-proofing” strategy conceived by ITIC’s CEO Eoghan O’Mara Walsh recommends the Irish tourism industry receiving a €20 million Government investment. This was brought to the table by Mr O’Mara Walsh at the launch of ITIC’s 2018 Pre Budget Submission. This is coupled with a plea for a €600 million state investment in new attractions (€60 million a year for a decade).
With tourism being a fruitful industry for many countries, Ireland must remain competitive in the current market. The ITIC made reference to where Ireland will be for the upcoming Budget 2018 as the UK is set to leave the EU following the Brexit vote. One of the key areas is the tourism VAT rate, which the ITIC draws particular attention to. They state it must remain at the current 9% level to stay competitive with other eurozone nations.
Mr O’Mara Walsh at the launch event said: “Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector in terms of employment – employing over 225,000 people in Ireland. Last year Irish tourism was valued at €8.3 billion annually and it is estimated that in 2016 tourism contributed €1.91 billion to the exchequer in terms of direct tax receipts. However, to sustain growth in the sector and secure regional employment, the government needs to look seriously at investment and to retain and improve Ireland’s competitiveness.”
In 2008, 7.4 millions overseas trips to Ireland were made. Tourism expenditure since then has dropped by 40% despite return on investment continuing to be made. A lot of this decline can be contributed to the recession and economic crash.
Chairman of ITIC Maurice Pratt said: “Irish tourism has enjoyed strong growth in recent years but 2017 is proving more challenging and our biggest and nearest tourism market, that of Britain, is in decline. Brexit is having a real and material impact on Irish tourism and we estimate that it will cost Irish tourism at least €100m this year. We are calling on the Government to make a sensible investment in tourism that reflects the current challenges facing Ireland’s largest indigenous sector.”
Mr O’Mara Walsh went on to say: “In order to realise the future potential of Irish tourism as an engine of economic growth and regional balance, the level of state capital support for the sector needs to increase significantly. The ongoing review of the Government’s capital expenditure is an opportune time to allocate additional capital budgets to Irish tourism – new experiences of scale and international appeal must be developed so that Ireland remains a compelling destination for visitors.”