€100 million fund to take Wild Atlantic Way 'to the next level'
Programme for Government
The new Programme for Partnership Government has been published, with some eye-catching inclusions for tourism.
The government's current tourism strategy aims to attract 10 million annual visitors and annual revenue of €5 billion by 2025.
Among the new commitments published today:
1. The retention of the 9pc VAT rate
Running for several years, the special tourism VAT rate is seen as a success in fostering value and creating employment. Critics of the measure say its benefits are not always passed on to the consumer, however. It has been in place since 2011.
2. €100m for the Wild Atlantic Way & Greenways
"We will seek to set aside €100m in additional capital funding to take the Wild Atlantic Way to the next level, including an Atlantic Blueway route, and the Ireland Way, and to invest further in developing a nationwide Greenway network."
3. Retention of the 0pc Air Travel Tax
As of April 1, 2014, this tax no longer applies to passenger departures. Seen as an incentive to overseas tourism, it will be retained by the new government.
4. A boost for Ireland's Lakelands
Alongside Dublin, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East, the government "will direct Fáilte Ireland to develop the 'Ireland's Lakelands' brand as a separate proposition to sit alongside" Ireland's key tourism campaigns.
5. €10m in additional funding for regional airports
Regional airports such as Donegal and Kerry are to receive a further boost "to prepare for a future where they can operate on a standalone commercial basis". The investment is in addition to the €28 million already committed.
The national tourism strategy aims to employ 250,000 by 2025 - up from the estimated 205,000 employed in the sector today.
Read the full Programme for Government here.