Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2015.
As the Minister of State is aware, Fianna Fáil is happy to support the passage of this Bill. I would, however, like to raise with him a number of issues provided for therein. The increase in the aggregate budget allocation for the National Tourism Development Authority, more commonly known as Fáilte Ireland, from €150 million to €300 million is welcome. Can the Minister indicate if the cumulative limit will ever be achieved given since 2012 annual Government funding for Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland has been cut by €25 million to €119 million, a decrease of 17%? This reduction in funding is a constraint on the marketing and development of our tourism sector. While the proposed increase is welcome in theory, unless it is followed up with resources it will not make a whole lot of difference.
While the authority has a remit in regard to education in tourism, it does not have any remit in terms of education in the hospitality sector. There is a critical shortage of people to work in the service industry, including chefs, waiting staff and bar staff, which can be linked to the abolition of CERT. In light of the proposed increase in the ceiling in terms of what can potentially be spent, are there plans within the Department to establish a model similar to CERT to support the training of people to work in the service industry?
I would also like to raise a specific issue with the Minister of State, which I appreciate he may not be able to respond to today but might come back to me on it. Fáilte Ireland recently commenced a tender process in regard to the establishment of a marketing campaign for areas to the left of Ireland's Ancient East and right of the Wild Atlantic Way.