50,000 extra jobs & €1.7bn more in annual revenue: Varadkar sets new tourism targets in draft policy

Riverdance and The Gathering

Ministers publish Draft Tourism Policy & invite your views

New targets for 50,000 extra jobs in tourism and hospitality and €1.7 billion more in annual revenue from tourism have been proposed by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring.

The targets feature in the Draft Tourism Policy which was published today after being agreed by Cabinet. The policy covers the period from 2014 to 2025 and interested parties are invited to comment before the policy is finalised later this year.

“The main focus of tourism policy in the past has been to grow overseas visitor numbers. In future, we are proposing that the focus should be on growing employment, and revenue from overseas. These are much more effective measures of the economic benefits provided by tourism and recognises that visitors who stay longer spend more,” Minister Varadkar said.

Minister Ring said: “The Gathering showed what we can achieve by working together. By bringing in multi-annual budgets for festivals, events and tourism attractions, organisers and managers will be able to plan ahead and invest where it’s needed.”

The central goal of the Draft Tourism Policy is to increase revenue from overseas tourism from €3.3 billion to €5 billion per year by 2025, excluding the cost of air fares and ferry charges and adjusted for inflation between now and 2025. It also sets a target of 250,000 people employed in tourism by 2025, compared with approximately 200,000 at present.

The statement sets a range of policy priorities to achieve these targets:
• A new fund to support capital investment in tourism, to be launched in 2016, that will enable the tourism sector to continue to develop and meet the needs of future visitors.
• Tourism Ireland’s marketing of Ireland as a visitor destination will be evidence-based and targeted at a range of geographical markets, and types of tourist, with the highest revenue growth potential. The tourism industry will be asked to take on a greater promotional role in markets which are already familiar with Ireland.
• The development of a Multi-Annual Financial Framework for Tourism, for both current and capital expenditure, to provide greater stability and certainty on the level of Exchequer funding available to support tourism.
• Funding for festivals and events will be done on a multi-annual basis, rather than annually, with the goal that events will be able to plan ahead, grow larger and become financially independent, rather than relying on annual subsidies.
• Building on The Gathering, Local Authorities will have a greater role in funding smaller tourism and diaspora-related events. They will be encouraged to take greater responsibility for tourism development in their region, and co-operate with neighbouring authorities as appropriate.
• A greater focus on events and festivals that bring in actual numbers, rather than ones which only generate a lot of publicity. Fáilte Ireland will put in place a structure to target international events which are most beneficial from a tourism perspective and can be most effectively matched with our overall tourism offering.
• The design of effective training and skills frameworks, especially in further education and apprenticeships, that will enable enterprises and employees to meet the needs of future visitors to Ireland.

Interested parties now have a further opportunity to shape the future of Irish tourism policy by commenting on the Draft Policy before the final report is published later this year. The draft Policy can be accessed here:

http://dttas.ie/tourism/english/tourism-policy-review-20132014

Submissions are invited until 31st July 2014 preferably by email to: tourismpolicy@dttas.ie