Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2015.
I thank the Minister of State. I also thank the Chairman for his leniency with regard to what is being discussed. The Minister of State spoke about the fact we have many centres of excellence, predominantly in our institutes of technology, which run courses in hotel and catering. We still have a chronic shortage at present. This is why I have referenced CERT in the past. We did not have this chronic shortage but we do now. Do the institutes of technology have the capacity to deal with it? Has an audit been carried out to see whether they have the capacity? If they do not, where will we meet our capacity? This has the potential to strangle tourism growth.
We have had a phenomenal number of years of increased tourism to the country. The Wild Atlantic Way was very good and built on from The Gathering a number of years ago, which was another very good initiative. We have also been very fortunate from the point of view that the euro has been weak against the US dollar and the English pound, which are factors outside of our control. In light of the fact that Brexit will soon be a reality and that sterling has decreased in value, what actions will the Department undertake to ensure that we can meet and surmount these challenges? I do not for a minute suggest that all our tourism is based on cost, but it is a factor. Unfortunately, we have also noticed in recent years that hotels and restaurants have started to push their prices back up. We want to ensure we will remain competitive because this is key when people make a decision on where to go on holiday.