Costello criticises hospitality sector greed
Also urges establishment of new Dublin Docklands tourist trail
Speaking in the Dáil today on the National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, Labour Deputy Joe Costello welcomed the legislation, stating it was one of the shortest Bills presented to the Dáil in the last five years but extremely important as it provided for the doubling of State funds to Fáilte Ireland.
The funding will increase from €150 million to €300 million for the purpose of supporting enterprises and projects relating to the development of tourist traffic, facilities and services.
Costello said: “The State has always supported tourism in general and the hospitality industry in particular. When this Government came to office five years ago we reduced VAT on the hospitality sector by one third from 13.5% to 9% to revive the tourism industry. The measure was hugely successful and now we have record tourist levels and our hotels are full.
“However, the hospitality sector has not reciprocated by giving the consumer a good deal. We have the highest hotel bed occupancy in Europe and last years’ PWC Report demonstrated that Ireland had the top revenue per available room in Dublin hotels of 50 European capital cities. In 2016, Dublin is expected to be in first place again. Yet Dublin is fast becoming one of the most expensive capitals in the world for tourists.
“Recently we saw how the annual Global Web Summit, which brought 30,000 wealthy visitors and €100 million spending money to Ireland last year, is moving to Lisbon, Portugal, partly because of exorbitant bed and breakfast prices. The industry will once more kill the golden goose as it did during the Celtic Tiger years unless the greed of the industry is curtailed.
Dublin Docklands Trail
“Secondly I wish to propose to Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority that they focus their attention on promoting some new projects in Dublin. The area that has been most neglected in recent decades in terms of its tourism potential is the Dublin Docklands. Indeed Docklands all over the country have great development potential.
“But Dublin is special. While the Docklands have been subject to regeneration since 1986, almost 30 years ago, this has only consisted of bricks and mortar – office blocks and housing. There is an enormously rich heritage on the Docks going back hundreds of years which has been totally neglected. At the junction of the River Liffey, Royal Canal, and Irish Sea is Dublin Port with its incredible maritime and industrial history stretching right back to the Vikings.
“Now the Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society is doing Trojan work to highlight the potential. At present, a heritage audit of the Docklands is being carried out by Dublin City Council.
“We need to establish a Dublin Docklands Trail that would attract thousands of tourists and could rival the Wild Atlantic Way. Moreover, it would give gainful and sustainable employment to the local Dockland communities, which have been ravaged by decades of neglect.”