Ryanair again urges scrapping of 'damaging' travel tax
Ryanair has reiterated calls to scrap the travel tax after a new report ranked Ireland's competitiveness for aviation charges as poor.
A report by the influential World Economic Forum (WEF) said Switzerland, Germany and Austria are the top performers in its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report.
Ireland ranked just 12th in Europe and 19th overall in the world, despite being the only European country without international rail and road links.
Reliance on airlines is why Ireland ranks number one in the world for the number of air departures per 1,000 people – just ahead of the Seychelles.
But Ryanair insists that the €3 per trip tax imposed on travellers from Ireland has "badly damaged" Irish tourism.
Airline spokesman Robin Kiely (below) said other European countries had boosted tourism numbers by scrapping such taxes.
The WEF ranks 140 countries in terms of their attractiveness and ability to develop their travel and tourism industries.
Ireland's position on the competitiveness table is two places higher than in 2011, but it's behind countries including France, the US, Canada, Spain, Germany and the UK.
Ireland is more competitive than both Italy and Denmark, however.
The WEF report ranks Ireland 22nd in the world in terms of its air transport infrastructure. For ground transport infrastructure, Ireland is ranked 24.
But for price competitiveness, Ireland still ranks among the worst in the world, despite falls in wages and softening of taxes for the sector. The WEF ranks it 115 in the world out of 140 countries. France is the worst.
For tickets and airport charges, the WEF ranked Ireland 79th in the world, behind countries such as New Zealand, Rwanda, Vietnam and Finland.
It's ahead of countries including the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and the UK.