LABOUR TD for Cork South-West, Michael McCarthy, has said that a new survey which shows that half of Ireland’s tourism businesses have improved trade this year is the most encouraging sign yet that things are improving within the sector.
“This is a very bright chink of hope for the domestic tourism sector as we approach the summer months. The survey, which is part of the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer, has communicated directly with business people at the heart of industry who are saying loud and clear that trade is on an upward trajectory.
“54 per cent of tourism businesses said they have seen an improvement in their performance in 2012 compared to just 8 per cent of businesses who said this in 2009. It’s now a black and white fact that things are slowly improving on the ground, and it should engender confidence amongst communities who heavily depend on tourism trade throughout the year.
“Undoubtedly, there is a direct correlation between these positive industry sentiments and the pro-tourism agenda which this Government has doggedly pursued since entering office one year ago.
“The Programme for Government pledged to put tourism at the core of the national recovery process and consequently introduced a catalogue of industry-assistive measures such as a VAT cut for tourism-related goods and services and a visa waiver programme for UK visitors.
“This commitment has taken time to realise, but thankfully, as this survey has borne out, we are now witnessing some tangible progress on the ground amongst the very businesses these measures were designed to assist.
“While significant strides have been made, there is still a lot of work going on behind the scenes and much more work to do.
“In this vein, I fully intend to keep the development of the domestic tourism industry on the agenda so that Ireland can regain its foothold as a sterling holiday destination and that communities the length and breadth of Ireland can reap the benefits along the way.”