Tourism is more than ever before an industry between a rock and a hard place.
There is the growing curse of over-tourism afflicting historic capital and regional cities and the most favoured beach resorts.
The response in Sardinia has been the imposition of an entry fee and a limit on visitor numbers at one of the island’s best beaches.
From July, day-trippers in Venice will have to pay a two-tier tourist tax — €3 in low-season months rising to €10 at what the city’s government calls “critical” periods such as a summer weekends.
In Britain, Bath has one of a number of local authorities asking for central government permission to levy a tourism tax.
Yet in Ireland — as in countries across Europe — the economic importance of tourism cannot be underestimated.
The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation is, therefore, justifiably concerned when it sees that while the number of overseas visitors reached a record high of 9.7m in 2019, the money they spent fell for the time in eight years.
The 1% fall to €6.9bn could, perhaps, be a passing blip, put down to three years of Brexit uncertainty, belt-tightening by European travellers and the Vat hospitality tax rate hike.
But perhaps not. The finance department has €40m stashed away as a no-deal Brexit tourism contingency fund.
Some of that should be liberated to offset the cut in government spending on promoting our attractions internationally.