The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation said yesterday that the last government’s national tourism strategy — ‘People, Place & Policy’ – was too modest in targeting €5bn in overseas visitor spend by 2025.
“CSO figures show us that international tourists now spend €4.2bn per annum while staying in Ireland; the idea that as a country we should be aiming to hit only €5bn by 2025 is simply not an appropriately stretching target,” said confederation chairman Paul Gallagher.
Mr Gallagher said that with less than 2% aggregate annual growth, Ireland would reach the €5bn stated national target easily by 2025, but better results should be expected.
“As tourism leaders we can’t be satisfied with 2% annual growth for our industry. Imagine the food or pharmaceutical or IT industry accepting a 2% annual growth target.
"Why should we in tourism be any less ambitious?
"A figure of 4% annual growth should be eminently achievable for tourism. This would equate to €6.2bn annual expenditure by overseas visitors and crucially would create an additional 50,000 jobs,” he said.
According to confederation chief executive, Eoghan O’Mara-Walsh: “Tourism has delivered 22% of all new jobs created nationally over the past four years and we have the potential to deliver far more employment to parts of the country that see little other industry.”