Thursday 15 November 2018

Tourism industry warns it will take a €390m hit in event of a 'no-deal' Brexit

Attraction: A jogger runs along Bregagh Road in Armoy, Co Antrim, known as the Dark Hedges, which has become a popular tourist spot after being featured in ‘Game of Thrones’
Attraction: A jogger runs along Bregagh Road in Armoy, Co Antrim, known as the Dark Hedges, which has become a popular tourist spot after being featured in ‘Game of Thrones’
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Revenue in the tourism industry could be hit by as much as €390m in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit, TDs and senators have been warned.

Tourism chiefs are closely monitoring the Brexit process for risks posed to visitor numbers, revenue and jobs.

Fáilte Ireland boss Paul Kelly told Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy that one 'no-deal' scenario estimated €390m in losses. That is based on the effects of previous impacts on tourism like the 2010 Icelandic ash cloud and the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee, Mr Kelly said Fáilte Ireland had told the Government the industry would need "significant" investment to protect jobs in the case of a hard Brexit.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said: "Brexit dominates all other uncertainties." He added that the future of the EU-UK Open Skies Agreement was "critical" as there were potentially "significant downside risks for Ireland if a successful resolution is not found".

Mr Gibbons also said the tourism boost from increased air links and Ireland's popularity due to the filming of 'Star Wars' and 'Game of Thrones' here wouldn't last forever.

He said diversifying markets was part of the response to Brexit, and Budget 2019 funding will help growth strategies in places like the US, Germany, China and India.

Fine Gael Senator John O'Mahony raised concern over competitiveness due to high accommodation prices in Dublin.

Mr Kelly conceded there is concern that tourist value-for-money surveys are showing greater dissatisfaction. He said the point was consistently made to industry about the need to retain good value.

Separately, AIB data shows the average bank machine withdrawal per card by UK visitors was €234. The US average was €285. AIB said anonymous and aggregated data could help tourist businesses tailor their offerings.

Irish Independent

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