Tourism Bosses Back Aer Lingus Takeover
Most senior tourism executives are in favour of the proposed takeover of Aer Lingus by British Airways parent company IAG.
According to a poll carried out by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) of 88 tourism bosses in the country, nearly 70 per cent of respondents showed support for the €1.36 billion bid.
One fifth of respondents said they were against the move, while 12 per cent were 'undecided' or 'didn't know', as reported in the Irish Independent.
The Government, which owns a 25.1 per cent share in the airline, has not yet decided whether it will sell the stake at €2.55 a share. The main stumbling blocks for the deal are the assurances for the Heathrow slots, connectivity and jobs.
ITIC chairman Paul Gallagher gave his approval for the bid, saying it would secure the future of the airline. The deal, said Gallagher, “opens up global connectivity opportunities that otherwise would not be realised."
Gallagher also voiced his concern about the Government’s tourism initiatives for the upcoming years, which he said were not ambitious enough. Less than one third of the respondents to the poll gave a positive rating to the new plan to grow tourism to €5 billion a year and 10 million visitors.
"The last tourism policy document from the period 2003-2013 had a target of 10 million visitors and €6bn to be achieved by 2013.
"We should be more ambitious, given that almost eight million visitors will come here this year," he said.