“Tourism represents an excellent investment for Ireland and must be nurtured if it is to continue to deliver economic growth and job creation”


Sunday, 21st February 2016: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) welcomes Fine Gael’s commitment to ensuring tourism remains at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy during the life of the next Government.  In particular, the IHF welcomes the party’s tourism plans announced today and its commitment to a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to ensuring Irish tourism lives up to its full potential in terms of continued growth and job creation.


Among the key initiatives announced by Fine Gael include a new €100 million capital injection in the Wild Atlantic Way and a nationwide greenways network; the holding of a successor to The Gathering in 2019; and the provision of additional resources to build on the successes of Ireland’s Ancient East and ‘Dublin –‘A Breath of Fresh Air.’


Stephen McNally, President of the IHF called on all parties and candidates in the general election to commit to decisive action in support of continued recovery in Irish tourism. He said that tourism has a proven track record as a major engine for economic growth and employment, having created over 33,000 additional jobs since 2011 thanks to a number of key pro-tourism initiatives.


Important tourism initiatives in recent years include the 9% VAT rate, which has brought Ireland more closely in line with tourism VAT rates in other European countries with which we compete – making Ireland more competitive when marketing the country internationally as a tourism destination. Other important measures include the zero rate air passenger tax, support for improved air access and connectivity, and the liberalisation of the visa regime for visitors from selected markets.


Commenting on the IHF’s recently launched four-point plan for tourism, Mr McNally said that, while tourism has made significant progress in recent years, continued growth cannot be taken for granted. Market conditions within the industry remain challenging, particularly outside of the larger urban areas and traditional tourism hotspots.


The IHF’s tourism plan calls on all parties and candidates in the general election to commit to four key policies in support of the tourism industry, including:


1.      Providing greater cost competitiveness within the Irish economy

2.      Restoring tourism marketing funding to 2008 levels to support long-term market growth

3.      Allocating additional funding for tourism product and infrastructure

4.      Investing in people, skills and training – including vocational and craft training


As one of Ireland’s largest indigenous industries, tourism is vital for the country’s economic well-being. Irish tourism has created 33,000 new jobs since 2011 and now employs over 205,000 people throughout the country, equivalent to 11% of total national employment. It accounts for 4% of GNP and last year generated €7.3 billion in revenues for the economy and €1.8 billion in taxes – thereby supporting the local economies of every village, town and county.


“Tourism represents an excellent investment for the country and must be nurtured if it is to continue to deliver returns for the economy. Every euro spent in destination marketing by the state results in a €34 visitor spend in the country,” says Mr McNally. “We’re calling on the main political parties to commit to a range of pro-tourism policies that bolster Ireland as a leading destination for overseas visitors and holidaymakers.”




  • Over 205,000 jobs in Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sector – supporting one in every nine jobs in Ireland today.
  • Over 33,000 additional jobs created by hospitality and tourism since 2011, accounting for 1 in every 5 new jobs.
  • Potential to create over 40,000 additional jobs by 2021.
  • Tourism accounts for 4% of GNP and €1.8 billion in taxes.
  • Total tourism revenue for 2015 stood at €7.3 billion.*
  • Domestic tourism revenue for 2015 valued at €1.6 billion.
  • Overseas tourism revenue for 2015 valued at €5.7 billion.*
  • Overseas visitors exceeded 8.5 million in 2015.
  • Potential to attract 10 million overseas visitors by 2025.


* includes carrier receipts and revenue from visitors from Northern Ireland






The IHF Policy Document for the general election can be viewed in full here: A Strategy for Job Creation and Economic Growth



Barry Ryan / Eoin Quinn                                Tel: 01 6798600

Weber Shandwick                                           Mobile: 085 728 7326 / 087 233 2191


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