Written answers

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Tourist Accommodation

Photo of Cathal CroweCathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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39. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has a strategy to ensure that bed accommodation for tourists visiting Ireland is increased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6692/24]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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I am advised that Fáilte Ireland has completed a number of Accommodation Audits to establish a baseline on existing tourism accommodation capacity for local authorities in each destination and region. This includes a quality and gap analysis for additional accommodation development on a county-by-county basis along with the projected accommodation requirements. Additional capacity supply growth projections have been identified for all counties based on best estimates of demand recovery to 2030, the current gaps in the market by location and type, and changing consumer preferences for accommodation categories. These projections recommend a phased pipeline of new supply in line with location specific demand drivers based on identified gaps in the market.

Full audits have been completed for 18 counties to date, as follows: Clare, Donegal, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Dublin, Cork, Roscommon, Galway, Longford, and Offaly. These audits have been issued to the respective local authorities who will draw on them as they shape their own tourism accommodation strategies.

This year, Fáilte Ireland intends to secure services for the development of a monitoring system to track the pipeline of tourist accommodation in Ireland focusing on planning, construction commencement and opening phases of development. This will allow Fáilte Ireland to pinpoint challenges that exist in terms of the development of tourism accommodation and to measure the impact arising.

Fáilte Ireland’s statutory register of all Short-Term Tourist Letting (STTL) accommodation in the State will, when implemented, provide a full picture of the stock of tourist accommodation. This will enhance Fáilte Ireland’s ability to promote wider tourism investment. In addition, the combined insights of the accommodation audits and the STTL will help shape and inform Ireland’s long term accommodation development plans to meet changing consumer demands and trends.

Furthermore, my Department is progressing the development of a new national tourism policy framework that will seek to mainstream sustainability – environmental, economic and societal – across the entire tourism sector. The new framework will shape how our tourism industry develops in the period to 2030. While I want to see the tourism sector grow, I want it to do so in a manner that is consistent with our broader sustainability targets and ultimately ensures that Ireland will be a brand leader in sustainable tourism practices. While initial consultations with key stakeholders were completed last year, I am establishing a focus group to look at sustainable targets which should meet in the next few weeks. Once the group meets, I will also launch a public consultation and hope to have the new policy framework finalised and published in the coming months. Issues around accommodation stock will be considered as part of the new Policy Framework and subsequent Action Plan.


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