Fine Gael Cork South Central Senator Jerry Buttimer has called on the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport to drop the travel tax that acts as a disincentive for tourists wanting to enter Ireland.
“Last night the Minister under questioning from myself in the Seanad described the tax as a “hot potato”, I am now calling on the minister to drop the tax. The removal of this tax will help encourage tourists back to Ireland and the Cork region. Cork has recently been listed as one of the top ten travel destinations to visit by the acclaimed travel guide, lonely planet.
“The tourism sector in Ireland is annually worth €5 billion to the exchequer, it is unquestionably one of the most important sectors in our economy. We know that the travel tax has already contributed to many job losses in the travel industry, in hotels, pubs and airlines amongst others. We also know that 1 million less people visited Ireland last year which has had a disastrous effect on our hotel and accommodation sector.
“We must look at the positive and that is why I am calling for this regressive tax to be dropped. Cork has been named as one of the top ten travel destinations in the World and we are also aware that Ireland has some of the cheapest accommodation costs in Europe. People want to come here and should not be dissuaded; tourism can be one of the cornerstones of our economic recovery.
“The recent event of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud has shown how dependent we are as an island nation to air travel. We need to be welcoming to tourists who want to come here and charging them an entry fee does not send out the right signals.
“Tourism can drive our economic recovery; we are one of the most sought after destinations in the world, for our culture, our history, our beautiful countryside and our food, amongst other things. We are great value for money when it comes to accommodation. I call on the Minister to do the right thing and drop this travel tax, which she describes herself as a “hot potato”.