Offaly hoteliers have welcomed the announcement by Minister Noonan to retain the 9% tourism VAT rate and are looking forward to working with the Government to increase employment in the sector.
Matt O’Connor, Branch Chair, Offaly Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) says that the reduced VAT rate has been enormously successful to date, enabling tourism and hospitality businesses to take on 15,200 additional jobs at a very difficult time when employment would otherwise have dropped significantly.
“The budget is good news for Irish tourism and is a clear recognition by the Government of the importance of tourism as a labour intensive industry with enormous potential for further job creation,” says Mr O’Connor. “In particular, the retention of the reduced VAT rate provides us with greater certainty into 2014 and will enable us to compete more effectively abroad for holidaymakers. This will continue to have benefits for increased employment throughout the country, particularly in rural regions.”
Mr O’Connor notes that the 9% VAT rate has received an overwhelmingly positive response among hotels and guesthouses with over nine out of ten in a survey last month saying that retention of the measure would enable them to increase employment into 2014.
He says that hoteliers welcome the decision to scrap the air travel tax as a measure that will support increased air access and enable Ireland to attract a greater share of overseas visitors. Hoteliers also welcome the increase in funding for tourism product development. This is another positive measure that will support much-needed investment in new reasons for holidaymakers to visit Ireland.
Mr O’Connor acknowledged the important support provided by Ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin and by tourism Ministers Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring in ensuring tourism remains at the heart of the Government’s economic policy and in recognising the valuable role played by tourism in growing the Irish economy and employment.