Thursday, 8 December 2005
Financial Resolution No. 5: General (Resumed).
John O'Donoghue (Minister, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism; Kerry South, Fianna Fail)
The extension announced by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, in the cut-off date for investment in hotel projects in the pipeline to benefit under the generous accelerated capital allowances will facilitate the orderly progression of projects and help to ensure that any further additions to stock are warranted by clear and identified market potential.
The increase in the VAT exemption limit for small service businesses will benefit small accommodation providers, including those in the bed and breakfast sector who are under some pressure owing to changes in consumer demand and tastes, as will the change from monthly to quarterly filing of PAYE forms.
Tourism is no longer a Cinderella industry. It is very much centre stage and the Government has shown its unrelenting commitment to it by resourcing our tourism agencies as never before. For 2006 I have secured an unprecedented level of Exchequer resources for tourism development, €134 million, representing an increase of 7% on 2005. The investment will enable the tourism agencies, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, to deliver in full their ambitious marketing and development plans for 2006 which were unveiled to the industry's major promotional event earlier in the week. The increased marketing fund will enable both agencies to step up significantly their gain on the marketing front in 2006. In securing the largest ever allocation of €40 million for the tourism marketing fund, I have specifically asked the agencies to focus on stimulating regional spread, promoting greater use of special interest products, in particular golf, to benefit from our hosting of the Ryder Cup next September, capitalising on air access developments and enhancing our e-marketing capabilities.