Thursday, 15 February 2007
John O'Donoghue (Minister, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism; Kerry South, Fianna Fail)
It is estimated that over the next six years, approximately 6,000 additional people will be required for the tourism industry here. The industry already accounts for more than 3% of GNP and has attracted approximately 246,000 to its workforce.
It is clearly important we ensure people are incentivised. In that respect I was pleased to announce this morning that we will make €148 million available to ensure the human resource element of the tourism industry is looked after, people are trained for the industry and businesses are in a position to adapt to changing circumstances.
With regard to domestic tourism and Irish people holidaying abroad, it is true that in any buoyant economy people will tend to go abroad on holidays. It is also true of a buoyant economy that people tend to take breaks at home, which is the reason we have seen a major increase in the number of Irish people holidaying at home. The industry earned approximately €4.3 billion from foreign sources last year, but it is sometimes forgotten that the income from domestic sources was €1.6 billion, giving a total of €5.9 billion.
In addition, statistics show that visitor numbers to this country to the end of November last year increased by 10.3%, but revenue for the first three quarters increased by 11%. There is now a definite correlation between the increase in the number of visitors and increase in revenue.