'The Figures Speak For Themselves' Says Minister Shane Ross After Criticism
Despite recent criticism that Minister for Tourism Shane Ross doesn't 'get the industry', and that Ireland's tourism industry needs to 'up its game', Ross has said "that the figures speak for themselves" and there is "no evidence" regarding criticism that he has not been proactive enough in his role, reports Fora.ie.
Dalata deputy chief executive Stephen McNally had commented that he was unsure about how well the Minister and his advisers are "able to fight for tourism", while Professor Jim Deegan, who is the director of the National Centre for Tourism Policy at the University of Limerick as well as a Fáilte Ireland board member, said that Ireland needs to be more aggressive in its targets and avoid UK tunnel vision when marketing the country overseas.
Speaking at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2017, Ross said: "I think it’s absolutely straightforward. We’ve got a record year for tourism which is something which we’re very, very proud of. I think we’ll probably have a record year next year, which we’re very proud of as well. Any criticism that I am not spending enough [time] in the tourist portfolio are complete and utter nonsense."
Tourism Ireland revealed that 10.5 million people will have visited Ireland by the end of this year, an increase of 11 per cent over 2015, and that overseas tourism revenue will grow by 4.5 per cent to €5.7 billion in 2017. Although 2017 will have to face the challenge of Brexit, Ross said that the government is "working day and night" on it and has "several contingency plans".
Ross also addressed Dublin's hotel room shortage saying he expects the problem to be fixed in 2019 or 2020 when the capital gets an additional 5,500 bedrooms.