Government Warns Tourist Industry of 'Rip Off Ireland'
Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe has warned the hospitality sector in Ireland against a return to "rip-off Ireland".
The minister, speaking in Clontarf this week, told reporters that the special nine per cent VAT rate will remain as long as hotels, bars and restaurants don't return to the high prices of the boom years.
“We can’t get back to any perception of rip-off Ireland for international or domestic tourists," said Donohoe. "When we got to this point in the performance of our tourism sector a number of years ago, really big mistakes were made in not offering good value to people who were in our country."
The sector, he said, became too expensive in those times and ultimately hurt tourism, and he has previously warned against the current trend of rising prices within the hotel sector.
The VAT rate for hospitality businesses was lowered from 13.5 per cent to nine per cent in 2011, over which time tourism figures have shot up in the country.
However, recent figures have shown that prices in the hotel sector are rising to 2007 levels and last week trade union SIPTU called for an abolishment of the special rate as it believers thats staff are not benefitting.
The Irish Times reports that Donohoe said he would "champion for its protection" in the upcoming budget, however the decision remains with Finance Minister Michael Noonan.