Hospitality businesses in Ireland are feeling the pinch created by high excise and the effects of Brexit, according to a new industry-led survey.
The Support Your Local campaign has announced the results of a poll taken by members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) which showed that these two factors are impacting the industry at a time of record tourist numbers visiting the country, outlining that there's a serious threat to hospitality jobs as a result.
"Excise is a tax on jobs, it is a tax on tourism and it is a tax on Irish consumers," commented Adrian Cummins, CEO of the RAI.
"In our recent poll, our members told us that they are already feeling the pressure, as they report an average 12% downturn for British tourists spend for July & August compared to the same time in 2015 with the effects of sterling exchange being cited as a factor,"
"It is more worrying however when we talk to our members in the border counties who are seeing a drop of up to 20% on cross border spend in July/August compared to this time last year. The Support Your Local campaign warned earlier this year that we were about to face 'the Perfect Storm' with high excise and Brexit."
Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI, commented: "Our members are feeling the pinch too. Members in the border counties are seeing a downturn of between 8 and 12% spend of British tourists compared to this time last year. We firmly believe that the Brexit vote has resulted in an even stronger case for a significant reduction in alcohol excise. Budget 2017 should compensate for the negative effect of Brexit, such as exchange rate uncertainty, impacts of a new “border” and the impacts that Brexit might have on British tourists and their spend in Ireland."
Cummins pointed out that the excise increases in the Budget 2012 and 2013 were applied at the time due to the economic crisis and that "we need to take this heavy burden off consumers, tourists, businesses and employees across the drinks and hospitality sector", which currently employs over 204,000 people with a combined wage bill of €4.3 billion.
The Support Your Local campaign said that it calling on the government to reduce excise by 15% in October’s Budget.