Minister says he will continue to argue for reduced VAT rate for tourism sector

Minister of State for Tourism Brendan Griffin has said that he will continue to argue for a return to the 9% rate of VAT for the tourism industry.

Minister Griffin was speaking at the Let’s Talk Tourism national forum which is talking place in Killarney today.

The forum also heard about the need for sustainability in the industry, insurance reform and better marketing to the domestic market.

Minister Griffin said that in order to continue to be succesful sustainability has to be at the heart of the tourism industry. He said that while it is challenging, it also provides opportunities.

Minister Griffin said that a 40m euro fund has been set aside to support tourism in the event of a no deal Brexit, but it was something he hoped to be able to access some of whatever outcome.

He said that he would continue to argue for a return to the reduced 9% VAT rate for the sector, and that this was a measure that could be looked at very quickly in the event of a major downturn.

Chairperson of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Ruth Andrews said that Brexit is creating a negative noise and extra money for the sector should not be predicated on a no-deal Brexit alone.

She said more action was need on insurance reform which is crippling many tourism businesses.

Consumer Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times, Conor Pope said that domestic tourists cannot be seen as the latchkey children of the tourism sector when compared to overseas visitors.

He said that holidaying in Ireland needs to be marketed correctly to the domestic market – as something you will remember forever, you will enjoy and that you will be enriched by.

He said people need to walk away from the experience saying, ” that was brilliant”.