WITH Ireland’s general election date set to be announced any day now, the Irish Tourism Confederation (ITC) have launched a tourism manifesto, challenging any incoming government to keep the industry competitive.
Tourism in Ireland has experienced a boost in recent years, with competitive exchange rates and high profile film and TV shows being filmed on location in the country, attracting visitors from abroad. In the last year alone there has been a 14% increase in visitors from overseas.
The industry is now worth €7.3 billion annually, however, the ITC have issued a warning to the future government that this is not to be taken for granted, ITIC Chairman, Paul Gallagher said:
“Continued growth is not assured and we must be conscious that some current favourable external conditions are unlikely to be sustained. The growth opportunities for tourism are at risk from rising costs, under-investment in facilitating infrastructure, capacity bottlenecks and dramatically reduced investment in destination marketing.”
The greatest success for Ireland’s tourism economy has been its boost to the jobs market. In the last four years 22% of new jobs have been in the tourism sector, that’s one in five of all new jobs created. The sector currently employs 224,000 people across Ireland.
CEO of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation CEO, Danny McCoy said, “It brings sustainable jobs to areas which have no large domestic industry and little hope of attracting major multinational investment. Bringing a recovery to the regions is not without its challenges. The tourism sector is currently getting a boost from favourable exchange rates, but it still faces major obstacles to growth from legacy debts, high rates bills and the continuing challenge of inadequate regional infrastructure.”
The manifesto goes on to warn the incoming government that the current projected spending is inadequate for such a key industry.
It stated: “Investment by the state in tourism has been in continuous decline over recent years. The Government has a target of attracting 10 million international visitors to Ireland by 2025. However, the recent €27 billion National Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2016 – 2021 allocated only €106 million to tourism over this five-year period, a disappointing and inadequate sum for an industry employing over 220,000 people.”