Ireland’s tourism industry said it can deliver growth of 65% if the incoming government restores the 9% Vat rate. The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation published its election manifesto today and said Brexit, weakened demand and increased costs of business have resulted in revenue falling by 1% in 2019 with regional Ireland hit hardest.
The confederation is made up of tourism businesses and stakeholders including Aer Lingus, B&B Ireland, Irish Ferries, the Restaurant Association of Ireland and the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland.
Along with a Vat reduction, the confederation said the cost of insurance must also be addressed.
“The judicial council must be set up without delay, a new book of quantum determined, more transparency provided on how premiums are collated and cases settled, and a Garda fraud unit established,” the manifesto states.
They also want the airport departure tax to remain suspended to support aviation access to Ireland.
The confederation said the state invests €186m per annum in tourism and receives €2.1bn back in direct tourism-related taxes.
It is calling on the new government to commit to an immediate €20m increase in investment.
“There is no better sector to invest in to generate a return for Government and to provide balanced regional development.”
In its end-of-year report released last month, the confederation said Ireland’s tourism economy saw its first decline in eight years.
“Tourism remains Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer but Brexit, the Vat hike, and increased costs of business have all made trading conditions more difficult for the 20,000 tourism and hospitality businesses in the country,” said confederation’s chairperson Ruth Andrews. It said grants should be made available to tourism businesses to mitigate against Brexit and diversify to new markets.
“Furthermore the ‘no- deal’ Brexit fund in the last budget should be released now to mitigate against the impact, already keenly felt in Irish tourism, of our largest source market leaving the EU,” the manifesto states.