Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has welcomed the latest CSO tourism figures which show significant growth in the tourism sector since Fianna Fáil’s were booted from office.
“The number of overseas visitors to Ireland has grown by 39% when the figures for quarter 3 in 2010 are compared to quarter 3 of this year, which translates as an additional 774,300 visitors.
“The tourism sector suffered a sharp decline from 2008, following the disastrous management of our Country by the previous Government; revenue dropped by €1.1 billion in 2009 to €5.2 billion, while overseas visitor numbers fell by close to 1 million in 2009. Fianna Fáil’s decision to introduce the Air Travel Tax was counterproductive and a deterrent to the survival of the tourism industry.
“In sharp contrast Fine Gael has taken several steps to support tourism, aid the recovery and create jobs. The special 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry was introduced by Fine Gael in 2011 to help the sector get back on its feet and it is evident from the latest tourism figures that it has been a huge success. Fáilte Ireland research has shown that since the VAT rate was originally cut to 9%, tourism has generated an extra 30,000 jobs.
“In Budget 2014 Minister Michael Noonan scrapped the Air Travel Tax. This tax was short-sighted and damaging to the sector. The scrapping of this tax by the Fine Gael led Government has helped to support airlines and the announcement of more new routes from Ireland only last week is testament to this. Of course, our Hotel industry is now back on track as a result of the growth in the sector.
“This Government has placed tourism at the centre of our economic recovery plans and has supported the tourism sector with measures such as the new 9% VAT rate, the Gathering Ireland 2013, the scrapping of the Air Travel Tax, the Visa Waiver and the development of Ireland’s Ancient East. Tourism is now one of Ireland’s largest industries, supporting over 200,000 jobs.
“Fine Gael’s policy is to support the industry through positive change. This has resulted in an increase in visitors and the potential for further growth.”