Thursday, 15 February 2007
Jack Wall (Kildare South, Labour)
What prompted this question was a statement by the chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Mr. Paul O'Toole, to the effect that a number of factors could impinge on the ambitious growth rates for the future. He went on to talk about currency fluctuations, global socio-economic uncertainty and a number of other factors. He also referred to the decline in the value for money rating and the perception of tourists that the warmth of the Irish welcome was beginning to disappear. I accept I have not had an opportunity to see the statement released this morning about what is being done in that regard. What is being done to change that perception given the context of such an important person in the industry stating his concern about the value for money rating?
Given all the recent price increases for gas, electricity etc., the tourism industry will have to pass on some of them. What can we do to overcome the two factors referred to by the CEO? The Minister may reply that some discussion on this matter took place this morning but I am unaware of what was said because I was in Kildare at a function attended by the Taoiseach. I have not seen any press release on this matter.