Tourism picture ‘positive’, Donohoe tells Seanad

Hotel costs criticised by some Senators

Minister for Tourism Pascal Donoghue: Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Tourism Pascal Donoghue: Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The tourism picture for this year was described as “positive’’ by Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe.

He told the Seanad that CSO figures showed there were more than 6.5 million visits in the first 10 months, an increase of 8.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. This represented an additional 532,000 visitors.

“The growth levels are not confined to any particular geographic area but are actually shared across all international markets,’’ Mr Donohoe said.

The Minister said the growth level was particularly impressive, given that last year featured the Gathering.

Ned O’Sullivan (FF) said that while visitor numbers were growing consistently, there were negatives. “A significant negative that has been reported statistically and anecdotally is the increasing cost of hotels.”

Mr O’Sullivan said hotel prices had increased by 10 per cent in the first half of this year, with the average cost €101 a night.

Seán D Barrett (Ind) said he did not know what got into people in Ireland because tourism became exceedingly bad value once it began to revive. “It is difficult to sell a product abroad if it is bad value,’’ he added.

Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said while it was true Ireland was overpriced to an extent, the issue had been overplayed.