Thursday, 15 February 2007
Paul Gogarty (Dublin Mid West, Green Party)
Although our tourism figures have continued to rise, the length of stay has tended to decrease. This shows that notwithstanding people's pressurised lives, they find Ireland too costly and are staying here for a shorter period.
It is interesting to note that since 1999 we had a surplus of €650 million in terms of earnings from all visitors to Ireland versus expenditure by Irish visitors abroad. Now we have a deficit of almost the same amount. While the tourism sector is doing well, in relative terms it is not doing that well as the Exchequer is suffering with regard to overall spending on tourism, taking into account Irish spending abroad versus the spending of visitors here.
Are there any further plans to market to our native population, given the amount of time a traveller will be stuck in airports with security checks? What quality products can be offered? If one goes to Northern Ireland local people can be seen working in the industry. Will the Minister procure marketing or financial incentives to ensure local people here can be part of the product?