Luring medicine agency here ‘would boost tourism’

Securing a powerful London-based European medicine body would provide a huge tourism spin-off in Ireland, the health minister has said.
Luring medicine agency here ‘would boost tourism’

The Government is now focused on winning the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which will have to relocate as a result of Brexit.

However, it comes as Tourism Ireland boss Niall Gibbons warned the number of UK citizens travelling abroad in 2017 was expected to fall by 2.5%.

With Britain accounting for more than 40% of all overseas visitors to Ireland, the decrease is likely to have a significant impact here.

Speaking at the all-island forum on Brexit, Mr Gibbons said competitiveness is now the key, adding: “We all have to work together to inspire people to come here.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris pointed out that as well as the 900 jobs the EMA would bring to Ireland, having the agency here would also boost the number of weekly visitors to Dublin.

“There are almost 900 directly working in the EMA, I would imagine that there would be significant spin-off benefits as well in terms of job creation in the pharma industry. Also in terms of our tourism, our hospitality sector, hundreds upon hundreds of people come to the EMA in London each week for international meetings and travel from right across Europe,” he said.

“So the influx of visitors to Dublin on a weekly basis to attend important meetings would be very significant.”

Mr Harris last week received formal cabinet backing to go ahead with a bid for the EMA to relocate here when Britain leaves the EU.

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