Ryanair claims European tourism could grow twice as quickly
Airline calls for more hotels and fewer airport charges
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs: “Taking the right steps could see tourism grow by 10% next year, rather than the predicted 4%.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Europe could boost tourism by cutting airport costs and taxes and tackling an accommodation shortage by building more hotels, according to Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.
Speaking at a Malta tourism conference on Thursday, Mr Jacobs claimed that Europe could grow tourism by 10 per cent next year instead of the predicted 4 per cent if it encouraged more of its residents to holiday in the region.
He told the gathering that airports should cut charges and remove taxes on short-haul flights within Europe, countries should build more hotels, the EU should improve the marketing of destinations, develop more regional resorts in places such as northern Spain and southern Italy, and develop more year-round city break travel.
“European tourism can thrive and capitalise on a golden growth opportunity at a time when European tourists are looking for alternative destinations given the decline in traffic to Turkish and north African resorts,” he said.
He pointed out that tourism generates up to 15 per cent of Europe’s economic output and supports 12 per cent of its jobs.
“Taking the right steps could see tourism grow by 10 per cent next year, rather than the predicted 4 per cent, which would create an additional two million European jobs.”
Ryanair expects to carry 130 million passengers this year. The airline said that it has had record bookings for its 2017 summer schedule, including its flights from Ireland, and has predicted that overall air fares will fall by about 8 per cent this year.