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New Tourism Policy Launched by Transport Minister for Next Decade

23rd March 2015
New Tourism Policy Launched by Transport Minister for Next Decade

#NewTourismPolicy - The Government's new tourism policy, 'People, Place and Policy: Growing Tourism to 2025' was launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe along with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny at Kilkenny Castle today.

The new Policy Statement sets out a range of objectives and aims to grow tourism over the next decade so that, by 2025, revenue from 10 million overseas visits will increase to €5 billion, enabling employment in the sector to rise to 250,000.

The policy follows recent CSO figures as previously reported on Afloat.ie that revealed in 2014, €3.5 billion was spent by overseas visitors in Ireland.

Speaking at today's launch, Minister Donohoe said: 'After a significant decline in the period 2008 to 2010, we have witnessed four years of successive growth in our overseas visit numbers. We want to ensure this positive momentum is maintained in the longer term to benefit not just those directly involved in tourism but also the economy as a whole'.

"'People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025' represents a fundamental examination, and a clear statement, of what we want to achieve for Irish tourism in the coming decade. It sets out ambitious targets for growth in overseas visits and associated revenue, and increased tourism employment."

Headline Goals of the Tourism Policy Statement

The Tourism Policy Statement has three headline targets, to be achieved by 2025:

Revenue from overseas tourism, in real terms and excluding air fares and ferry charges, will grow to €5 billion per year in 2025 from €3.5 billion in 2014;
250,000 people will be employed in tourism, compared with an estimated 200,000 at present; and
We will see 10 million overseas visits to Ireland, compared to 7.6 million in 2014.

Framework and key policy objectives: People, Place and Policy

The Tourism Policy Statement's guiding principle is to set out Government policies to enable Ireland's key attractions of People and Place to combine effectively to maximise the economic, social, and environmental benefits of tourism. The Statement includes policies on:-

• Visitor Revenue Rather than Visit Numbers

The Policy Statement shifts from a previous focus on simply growing the numbers of trips to Ireland by overseas visitors to increasing the economic contribution of overseas visits. This is measured by CSO surveys of expenditure within Ireland by overseas visitors. While the domestic tourism market will continue to play a significant complementary part, supporting tourism enterprises at times and places where overseas visits are fewer, the primary focus of the Statement is in growing overseas revenue and ultimately exports.

• Tourism Marketing

Overseas marketing will be targeted across a range of countries and market segments, focusing on the highest revenue potential while avoiding being too vulnerable to downturns in a few markets.

• Continued Key Role in Tourism for Festivals and Events

A new policy objective is that support for events will be weighted towards those that offset the seasonal nature of tourism as well as, in line with the overall aims, those with greatest overseas tourism potential. The appropriate use of themed years, including a possible repeat of the Gathering, will be pursued further when drawing up the Tourism Action Plan (see below).

• Training and Skills Development in Tourism
State support for training and career development in the tourism sector will aim to ensure the industry can meet the needs of future visitors and enable those working in the sector to achieve their potential.

• Competitiveness in Tourism

The Statement reiterates the critical importance of competitiveness, in terms of quality, value and cost. In line with previous Budget statements, it reaffirms that the maintenance of the 9% VAT rate in the tourism sector will depend on the sector ensuring that it remains cost-competitive.

• The Role of Communities and Local Authorities

The Policy sets out the vital role of local communities in developing and delivering quality tourism experiences. Local Authorities will have a key role in leading and supporting communities in tourism, as they already do, but this is now recognised at policy level. At the same time, the particular strengths of local authorities in developing tourism, within their overall economic development role, are recognised and reaffirmed.

• Whole of Government Approach

The Policy also reaffirms the vital role of Government in supporting tourism across policy areas and Departments, including taxation, environment, and enterprise policy. It commits to a whole-of-government approach to ensure the ambitious targets are met.

Commenting on how the Policy Statement will be implemented, Minister Donohoe stated: 'In the coming weeks I will be announcing the membership of a Tourism Leadership Group, which will oversee the creation of an initial three-year Tourism Action Plan for 2015-2018, to draw up the medium-term actions necessary to achieve the long-term aims in the Tourism Policy Statement.

The many submissions received during the formulation of 'People, Place and Policy' will again be examined during the Action Plan stage to see if there are specific actions which should be implemented. If the industry, stakeholders or indeed anybody with an interest in Irish tourism wishes to suggest additional actions, these can be sent directly to my Department for consideration'.

"I believe the Policy Statement launched today provides the foundations for a prosperous and sustainable tourism sector over the next decade. While the targets we have set are ambitious, I have no doubt that by working together, we will achieve them."

Published in News Update
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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