Questions to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has details on the economic benefits of convention centres and concert venues on local economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his position on the development of convention centres and concert venues outside of Dublin; if he will support measures by Government of financially assist the development of such amenities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 16th July, 2013.
I propose to take questions 1165 and 1166 together.
My Department’s role in relation to tourism relates primarily to the area of national policy. The Department does not routinely collect information on the economic benefits of convention centres and concert venues.
The National Conference Centre, known as Convention Centre Dublin, was developed under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement to address a deficit in conference facilities of that scale in Ireland and It is important to note that Convention Centre Dublin will revert to public ownership at the end of the PPP.
The Government has no plans to support the development of further convention centres or concert venues. It would not be possible for the Government to grant aid a privately-owned conference centre as this would constitute state aid and would be unfair to other conference and convention centres it would compete with. However, a similar model to the Dublin Convention Centre or a loan or equity investment from the Strategic Infrastructure Fund could be explored. It is my view that Cork could benefit from a conference centre and that it would boost business tourism.
With regard to the economic benefits of business tourism I am referring the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please contact my private office if a reply is not received within ten working days.