Fine Gael Senator for Clare, Martin Conway, has welcomed recent CSO figures showing that Ireland benefitted from a significant increase in tourism expenditure in 2014.
According to the CSO, €2.8 billion was spent in Ireland by overseas visitors in the first 9 months of 2014. This represents an increase of €241 million, or 9.3% on the same period last year. Fáilte Ireland is projecting a 9% increase in overseas visitor numbers to 7.3 million for 2014.
Senator Conway said: “It is good to know that expectations for next year within the tourism industry are very positive. According to Fáilte Ireland, 99% of accommodation providers expect the same or increased number of tourists next year, with four out of five of these businesses citing the 9% VAT rate as a positive factor for their expected performance.
“Tourism is so crucial to jobs in this country, particularly in counties like Clare. The CSO estimates that 139,800 people work in the accommodation and food service sectors. An extra 2,100 jobs have been created in the sector since last year.
“I have no doubt that the retention of the hospitality VAT rate at 9% in Budget 2015 and the scrapping of the air travel tax will continue to add to these positive returns for the tourism industry.
“I was delighted to learn that Fáilte Ireland will place a major focus for 2015-2016 on promoting attractions in the Mid-West region such as the Wild Atlantic Way. The Government, via Fáilte Ireland, has provided for a significant investment of €10 million this year for the route (stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale) to bring it alive and boost its attraction for overseas visitors.
“This will come as great news to the many businesses and people involved in nurturing the tourism product in Clare,” he concluded.