Over half of Irish hoteliers expect to increase staff levels in next year
More than half of hoteliers are expecting to take on additional staff over the next 12 months as 2015 continues to be a strong year for Irish tourism.
Overseas visitors are up 12pc year on year to date and according to the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) 77pc of hotels and guesthouses have reported an increase in business.
Speaking about the tourism industry's performance in 2015, president of the IHF, Stephen McNally, said that the industry is returning to pre-crash levels.
"Irish tourism has performed strongly since the start of the year and throughout the summer season, with overseas visitors set to reach over 7.8 million by year end - a level not seen since 2007.
"The improved outlook for future trading conditions is providing a significant boost to tourism," Mr McNally said.
The government introduced a 9pc tourism VAT measure in 2011 and the industry has been hoping that the rate remains constant in this month's budget.
While Finance Minister Michael Noonan said earlier in the year that he had no intention of changing the VAT rate, Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe said that he would only support the rate if the benefits were passed on to the consumer.
"We cannot get back to any perception of rip-off Ireland for international or domestic tourists. We got to this point a number of years ago and really big mistakes were made in not offering good value to people," minister Donohoe said.
The IHF says that the 9pc VAT rate is having a positive impact on the sector and says that 95pc of hoteliers believe that the low VAT rate will help them take on more employees.
In 2014, Ireland had 7.3 million overseas visitors and total tourism revenue was €6.45 billion, of which foreign exchange earnings in the economy amounted to €5 billion.
Overseas visitors are expected to exceed 7.8 million this year. The IHF forecasts that Irish tourism as a whole is now on track to create a further 40,000 jobs by 2020.
As a result according to the IHF, 81pc of hoteliers expect to further invest in their marketing departments over the next year.