Written answers

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Tourism Industry Issues

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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723. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the context of positive national numbers for tourism for the first quarter of 2013, the action he has undertaken in conjunction with Bord Fáilte to promote greater balance in tourism between Dublin and the periphery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25768/13]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The tourism and hospitality sector employs an estimated 185,000 people across the country and tourism generates revenue of the order of €5.5 billion a year. The Government has taken a number of measures to assist the tourism sector including reductions in VAT and employers’ PRSI and the short term visa waiver programme.  More recently the Government extended the Employment and Incentive Investment Scheme to include tourism accommodation. In addition, a diesel fuel rebate will come into effect in July which will benefit coach operators.  These measures have a beneficial impact on businesses across the country €0.5 billion a year.

The Government has taken a number of measures to assist the tourism sector including reductions in VAT and employers’ PRSI and the short term visa waiver programme.  More recently the Government extended the Employment and Incentive Investment Scheme to include tourism accommodation. In addition, a diesel fuel rebate will come into effect in July which will benefit coach operators.  These measures have a beneficial impact on businesses across the country. Fáilte Ireland has funded a range of capital projects outside of Dublin including the Great Western Greenway in County Mayo, the Sliabh Liag cliffs project in Donegal, the Wetlands Eco Park in Tralee, Mizen Head Bridge, Killarney House, the Waterford Viking Triangle, Killarney Downhill Mountain Bike Trail, new pontoons in Portmagee, and the re-development of King John's Castle in Limerick.  The route of the Wild Atlantic Way was also finalised and announced recently. This route will link Cork to Donegal and will provide a compelling reason for visitors to spend their holiday in the West.

A wide variety of business supports are available from Fáilte Ireland to tourism enterprises in all regions. Many festivals and events outside of Dublin are also in receipt of significant State funding.  These include events such as the Rose of Tralee, the Galway Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival and Sligo Live.  The Gathering is having a major impact across the country and, after Dublin, Cork, Mayo, Donegal, Galway and Kerry have the most number of Gatherings arranged for this summer. The busiest day for Gatherings will be Saturday 1 June, with 72 gatherings taking place throughout the country. In promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination Tourism Ireland also highlight the many attractions and experiences available to visitor right across the country.

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