9% VAT rate in Budget a further boost for tourism – Varadkar

Air-canada

Great day for tourism & sport with job-creating measures

• 9% VAT rate & €0 Travel Tax will build on Gathering success
• €8M for Wild Atlantic Way tourism route
• New sport capital funding & new National Indoor Arena at Sports Campus
• €50M for road maintenance to stabilise deterioration

Budget 2013 is a further boost for tourism with the retention of the 9% VAT rate, the Travel Tax cut to €0, and €8 million provided for the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route, according to Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar.

It’s also a great day for investment in sport projects with a new round of sports capital and for the development of a new National Indoor Arena at the National Sports Campus. The combined tourism and sports measures represent a significant jobs stimulus for 2014.

Minister Varadkar said: “It’s hugely significant for the tourism industry that Minister Noonan has decided to maintain the tourism VAT rate at 9%. I know this wasn’t an easy decision to make given limited resources, but it’s further confirmation that this Government is committed to job creation in the tourism sector. I thank Minister Noonan and also pay tribute to the tourism industry for running such an effective campaign. I urge tourism businesses now to fully utilise this continuing measure while it remains in place and use it to maintain value for money, support existing jobs and invest in further job creation.”

The Ministers also welcomed the €0 rating for the airline Travel Tax which is designed to generate additional air capacity to Ireland, and said Budget 2014 will allow the Government to consolidate and build on the success of The Gathering.

Minister Varadkar confirmed an additional capital injection to develop a National Indoor Arena at the National Sports Campus. A further €8 million will be used to develop the Wild Atlantic Way along the west coast. Minister Varadkar also announced a new round of Sports Capital Funding in 2014, allowing community sports clubs across Ireland to apply for new infrastructure projects. Both Ministers paid tribute to Minister Brendan Howlin for facilitating this significant stimulus plan.

“I welcome the €0 rate for the Travel Tax as part of a process to generate new airline routes into Ireland. This represents a further boost for Irish tourism and the local economies. I will be carefully monitoring the response of airlines and the tax can be re-imposed next October if the response is not sufficient. The Government will build on all these tourism measures next year, and on the great performance of tourism in 2013, and will make €24 million available for tourism capital projects in 2014.

“The €8 million investment for the Wild Atlantic Way will ensure that this new west coast route lives up to international expectations. We are marketing Ireland as an outdoor scenic destination and the Wild Atlantic Way is already being widely promoted by international operators. This new funding means the route will be signposted by next spring.”

“A new round of the Sports Capital Programme will start in 2014. This is great news for community sports clubs across the country and will increase participation in sport. Clubs will be able to apply for essential works like new changing rooms, pitches, lighting and other projects for the second time since this Government took office. It also means that clubs which missed out under the last round can make another application, and provide new jobs in their local communities.

Minister Varadkar said the €50 million roads stimulus package will allow some maintenance works to be carried out next year – however cost containment and efficiencies in maintenance will still be necessary. This extra stimulus means the intended cut in the roads capital budget for 2014, originally proposed as a drop of €116 million, will now be a smaller adjustment of €66 million. “Unfortunately there will be no scope for new projects or improvements. This is a very challenging reduction but we will strive to make the most of the very limited resources,” he said.