Growth to continue for 2014, says tourism body

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation believes that 2014 will be a year of further growth as the industry reported its strongest set of figures since 2009.

The tourism industry body reported that almost seven million overseas visitors injected over €4bn into the economy this year.

The strong figures help- ed create 15,000 jobs in the sector.

ITIC chairman Paul Carty said Government supports, such as the lower 9.5% Vat level, have set the industry up to be competitive into the future.

“Not only did we see a very welcome increase in tourism earnings and numbers, but significant progress was made in setting up conditions for the continued expansion of the sector,” said Mr Carty.

“Government support for the sector was very positive with the continuation of the reduced rate of VAT on tourism services, the suspension of the air travel tax, together with other supports for job creation, as well as facilitating visa entry for visitors from many emerging markets.”

The tourism body is confident that they can grow these figures in 2014 and have already received indication from operators that people are looking to come to Ireland.

“ITIC is quietly confident that conditions are right for further growth in 2014, although the year will not be without its challenges,” said Mr Carty.

“Early indications from trade partners in the marketplace are positive, while there are exciting new opportunities in several markets with increased airlift.

“The Wild Atlantic Way provides a major boost to the appeal of Ireland.

“Businesses in the sector are planning for refreshing the product and preparing for the expansion of capacity, particularly in high demand tourism areas, including Dublin, Kerry, and Galway.”

The body said that one of the biggest challenges is remaining competitive and not repeating the mistakes of the past, when high costs made Ireland too expensive for most visitors.

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