An industry lobby group has called for national tourism targets to be revised upward and for the next government to be more ambitious in its outlook for the sector.
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.”
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