ITIC Seeks Department Switch

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation has called for new Government measures to address cost increase and to move tourism to a new department.

A new report estimates that the tourism and hospitality industry will be hit with an additional €1.4 billion in payroll costs by 2026 as a result of Government policy.

"Tourism is at a tipping point" says ITIC as capacity constraints act as "a huge handbrake on growth".

It says that incoming Taoiseach Simon Harris will have an opportunity to reconfigure departments and move tourism to the Enterprise portfolio.

ITIC argues that mitigation measures are urgently needed to ensure the competitiveness and viability of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer.

Reacting to  the resignation of the Taoiseach, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, chair of ITIC, said, "Leo Varadkar’s first ministerial post was in tourism, and he is fondly remembered as being proactive and pro-business." Wishing him "the best", she said that the incoming Taoiseach should look to move tourism from its current department.

"Tourism is a vital economic engine for the country and would be a much better fit within the Enterprise Department."

Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC, stressed the importance of tourism to the national economy saying:

"It is the largest indigenous industry in the country and the biggest regional employer. Tourism can’t be taken for granted. Already the sector is facing a handbrake on growth due to capacity constraints as a result of Government policy."

He criticised the State’s over-reliance on the hotel sector for humanitarian purposes.

"Over 20% of all tourism beds nationally have been taken out of the tourism economy at this stage by the Government. That is having a hugely destabilising effect. We are calling on Government to urgently develop an alternative plan to house Ukrainian refugees and international asylum seekers, otherwise this summer there will be tourism towns the length and breadth of the country without an adequate supply of tourism beds, and therefore with very little tourism activity."