This is very positive news for private coach operators and the Irish tourism sector as a whole, as it will make it less expensive to bring visitors around the country. Tourism is a key industry, generating around €4.7 billion in spending and creating much needed employment. Figures from Fáilte Ireland suggest that for every 60 international visitors one job is created.
The value of the rebate will be up to 7.5 cent per litre, a significant saving for private coach operators. Because the rebate will only be available to properly-licenced and tax-compliant operators, it will help to prevent them from being undercut by other operators which are infringing the licencing or taxation regimes.
I welcome that the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, had the vision to include this concession in the Finance Bill which has been achieved in no small part due to the support of Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, who has been an advocate of this for some time.
In conjunction with other pro-tourism measures, such as the reduced VAT rate of 9% for tourism services and the launch of The Gathering, the fuel rebate will help bring more visitors to Ireland in 2013. This can only lead to increased spending in our economy and increased job creation.
This is another initiative taken by the Government which is targeted to support our tourism industry. Since March 2011, an additional 7,200 people are employed in tourism-related activities. I have no doubt that this latest measure will be further encouragement for expansion and job creation within the tourism sector.