October 15th, 2015 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen said today (Wednesday) described Budget 2016 as a pro tourism budget which help to further bolster our growing Tourism Industry.

“The reduction of VAT on Tourism Services from 13.5% to 9% has had a direct and significant impact on job creation in the hospitality industry. The reduction of VAT on food and accommodation services was specifically designed to generate jobs and it has been hugely successful. Clare Hoteliers have outlined how the Industry sustains over 7,400 in the County and the Restaurant and Hospitality Sector has attributed the creation of 541 direct jobs with the introduction of the lower VAT rate since July 2011.

Combined with the abolition of the Air Travel Tax, the ongoing promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way, increased access through Shannon Airport, the retention of the lower VAT rate is making a real impact in driving tourism growth across this County.

Record numbers are now visiting this County. 23,000 people visited Loop Head during the period from 3rd April to the 31st August and for the 5th year in a row visitor numbers have increased at the Cliffs of Moher with the one-millionth visitor recorded there in September this year. The news that the Wild Atlantic Way been named as the Lonely Planet’s best “offbeat coastal road trip” is a further boost for tourism as more visitors are expected to visit the County in the coming years.

The continuing growth at Shannon Airport has increased is also helping to drive tourism growth and further passenger growth is expected in 2016. Already, Delta has announced a 23% increase in capacity for summer 2016 with the introduction of the wide-bodied Boeing 767-300 on their JFK Service. Aer Lingus will provide an additional 55,000 seats into Airport expanding their capacity to London Heathrow, Faro and Malaga and this is in addition to the 20% increase in capacity which they announced earlier this year for both Heathrow and Lanzarote, while the opening of a new summer service from Shannon to Vienna is a further boost.

This extension of the lower rate will enable the industry to plan and to market for next year in the knowledge that Clare providers will be able to offer lower-cost tourism options to tourists and local people who are frequenting our, pubs, hotels and restaurants.”