Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the tourism policy review that was recently launched; his views on the positive impact on the tourism industry of the 9% VAT rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.- Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 1st October 2013
I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 104, 118, 139, 654 and 658 together.
One of my priorities for 2013 was to commence a review of tourism policy and I, along with Minister Ring, commenced that review with the launch of a public consultation on tourism policy on 11 September 2013. The issues paper we published at the launch set the parameters for the most comprehensive and in-depth review of tourism policy in many years and I look forward to hearing the views of all stakeholders. As well as being published on my Department’s website, a copy has been placed in the Oireachtas Library and it is also being sent to the Select Sub-Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport. I encourage the Deputies to make their views known on this important issue.
I aim to conclude consultation in November. This will allow consideration of the views raised and other relevant evidence and analysis before commencing drafting of the new policy in the New Year. The target date for finalising the policy review is Easter 2014. When finalised, my policy statement will form the basis for the Department to work with its partners in the agencies and the tourism industry, as well as stakeholders across Government, to develop a detailed strategy and action plan, setting out a range of specific measures to be pursued. What I hope to see at the end of this process is an ambitious but realistic plan, set within a clear policy framework of Government priorities, which will enable Irish tourism to continue to develop and grow, becoming in the process a world benchmark of excellence in tourism and a strong and sustainable source of export earnings and jobs.
Regarding the specific issues mentioned, I refer to the earlier answer on the 9% VAT rate. Issues relating to the development and expansion of the tourism sector along with job employment opportunities within the tourism sector will be issues which will be examined during the tourism policy review. Employment data, including employment in tourism businesses, is collected and published by the Central Statistics Office, which falls under the Department of the Taoiseach. Fáilte Ireland also carries out regular surveys of activity and employment in tourism businesses and I am referring that element of the Deputy’s question to Fáilte for direct reply.