Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden has said that the retention of the 9% VAT rate for tourism services will be a great boost to the tourism sector in the Midlands. Deputy McFadden has also warmly welcomed the scrapping of the air travel tax, as introduced by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, as part of Budget 2014.
“I am delighted that Minister Noonan has decided to retain the lower VAT rate for tourism services, which has no doubt played a significant role in boosting visitor numbers here over the last two years. This Government has identified the tourism industry as a sector with considerable growth potential, and as a result, a number of measures have been introduced to encourage as many people as possible to holiday in Ireland.”
“In tandem with the Gathering, the lower VAT rate has boosted Ireland’s reputation as a high quality, yet affordable destination for visitors from across the globe. The Government’s approach has yet again been vindicated by the latest figures from the CSO, which show that trips to Ireland increased by 4.2% in the second quarter, compared with the same period the previous year. Tourism and travel earnings from overseas visitors are up 5.2%,” Deputy McFadden said.
“There has been a particularly encouraging increase in visitors coming here from North America and from other long haul markets, including New Zealand and Australia. We are also attracting visitors from emerging markets like China at an increasing rate. The slashing of the air travel tax will no doubt help to open up more routes and make flights to and from Ireland more affordable.”
“The boost in tourism figures is having a direct impact on job creation. Employment in food and accommodation services is up by more than 13% since this Government took office, meaning thousands of additional jobs are being created in the tourism industry. This has a trickledown effect in every town and village in the country,” Deputy McFadden said.
“The 9% VAT rate was originally introduced a short-term interim measures, to provide a boost to the tourism sector. But Minister Noonan has clearly listened to those involved in the industry, and has taken the pragmatic decision to extend the VAT rate and slash the air travel tax. This will safeguard jobs in the sector and come as very welcome news to everyone involved in the tourism industry across the Midlands.”
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