Thursday, 29 September 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Jack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source
I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 11 together.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin, co-chair the hospitality and tourism forum. In the context of their respective roles, the focus of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is on the development of tourist traffic within or to the State and the development and marketing of tourist facilities and services in the State. The wider hospitality sector is a key enterprise sector as well, providing employment to people all over the country.
Specific policy areas within the Tánaiste's Department, such as the operation of the work permits system, are vital factors in how that sector operates.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Deputy Catherine Martin, regularly meets and remains open to engaging with a wide variety of tourism stakeholders and representative bodies. Department officials have also engaged with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and tourism representative bodies in order to understand further underlying issues surrounding the recovery of the tourism sector and to emphasise the importance of maintaining a strong value proposition at the core of tourism. The recovery oversight group recently submitted its fourth report to the Minister. The report notes that while much headway has been made in implementing the recovery plan presented in September 2020, a range of current tourism challenges, as set out in the report, means that significant headwinds remain.
Regarding addressing the rising costs of operation, the aim of budget 2023 is to support the tourism industry to recover and grow in a sustainable way. A total of €214.762 million has been allocated to the tourism sector. A total of €15 million in additional funding has been secured for overseas marketing of Ireland. This includes €5 million to develop further a new tourism initiative aimed at stimulating international demand. An additional €15 million is being provided for a range of industry initiatives including skills development and retention, domestic marketing, the hosting of American college football and sustainability. Other allocations include €36.5 million in capital funding for tourism product development for the continued delivery of enhanced visitor experiences.
Budget 2023 includes wider measures that tourism businesses can avail of to assist with escalating energy costs and to plan for the future. This includes a €1.25 billion temporary business energy support scheme providing qualifying businesses with up to 40% of the increase in electricity or gas bills up to €10,000 per month. Departmental officials have sought clarification on a number of points of particular relevance to tourism to ensure the scheme offers the best possible support to the tourism sector.