Tourism worth €5bn annually to economy, Michael Ring tells Dáil

Minister of State says growth of industry has also created jobs

Minister for State Michael Ring: said the increased activity in the past four years meant tourism had been a major contributor to job creation. Photograph: Sportsfile

Minister for State Michael Ring: said the increased activity in the past four years meant tourism had been a major contributor to job creation. Photograph: Sportsfile

 

Tourism is now worth about €5 billion annually to the economy, Minister of State Michael Ring told the Dáil.

“The figures for 2015 look very promising, with revenue for just the first nine months standing at more than €3.3 billion,’’ he said. “I am confident that when the final figures are available, it will be another high point for Irish tourism.’’

Mr Ring said the increased activity in the past four years meant tourism had been a major contributor to job creation. The most recently published CSO figures showed employment in accommodation and food services in the third-quarter of the year had increased by 18,800, or 16 per cent, to 139,900 since 2011.

In total, taking into account other areas of tourism and hospitality, Fáilte Ireland estimated 205,000 people worked in the sector, he said.

“These jobs are spread across the country, often in places where other opportunities are limited, and are available to people with a range of skills,’’ Mr Ring added.

The Minister was introducing the National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2015, providing for an increase in the level of capital funding for Fáilte Ireland.

Do-gooders

Michael Fitzmaurice

“When a film was being made on one of the islands, many do-gooders were trying to stop people from going there,’’ he added. “We must ensure we encourage the film sector and other initiatives which will benefit the country’s tourism in any way.’’

Mr Fitzmaurice said the Wild Atlantic Way had been a great success.

“It is a trophy project that can be shown to all,’’ he added. “In that context, we must ensure the likes of Knock airport becomes a hub, which would boost the area.’’