Written answers

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Tourism Funding

Photo of Marian HarkinMarian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim, Independent)
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35. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on increasing funding to support overseas tourism; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48717/21]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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As the Deputy is aware, the inbound tourism market has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While our domestic tourism market has helped sustain the industry, it now needs international visitors to return in significant numbers in order to facilitate a meaningful recovery. Since the easing of restrictions on the 19th of July overseas visitors have started to return to our shores but at a much lower level than prior to the pandemic.

The competition globally to attract tourism will be more challenging than ever. To this end Tourism Ireland have started to ‘roll out the green carpet’ and welcome back our international visitors as they work to encourage as many overseas holidaymakers as possible to book Ireland for their next holiday destination. The concept revolves around creating a commitment to travel, by ‘pressing the Green Button’ – green being the universal colour of ‘go’ and instinctively connected with the island of Ireland. I was happy to help Tourism Ireland launch this new campaign in both the UK and the United States recently when I travelled to both markets to engage with our industry partners to reassure them that Ireland was open and waiting to welcome back visitors.

Last year, a Tourism Recovery Taskforce was put in place to prepare a Tourism Recovery Plan with recommendations on how best the Irish Tourism sector can adapt and recover in a changed tourism environment as a result of the crisis. One of its recommendations was an increase in the overseas Tourism Marketing Fund to help protect Ireland's existing brand position and kick-start the recovery in inbound tourism. Whilst I am satisfied that Tourism Ireland is sufficiently resourced to roll out its new campaign, I am conscious that we are in a very competitive marketplace at this time. Any additional requirements for the agency will be considered in this context as part of the ongoing budget negotiations.


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