The future of the 9% VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sector is uncertain after Minister for Tourism Shane Ross said that the sector has a great future "9% VAT or not," adding it would be "unwise to say too much about it", reports fora.ie.
Despite being described as "crucial" by the Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins, Ross made the comments at the recent Irish Tourism Industry Awards after Paul Gallagher, chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), asked Ross directly about its fate, saying that "the industry deserves certainty on the 9% VAT rate".
Gallagher added, "VAT at 9% is the correct rate of VAT for tourism, full stop. It shouldn’t be a budgetary football every October or a stick to beat this industry," to which Ross quipped, "I don’t know why he didn’t ask for it to go down to 5% or 3% or 2% or something like that."
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"It’s absolutely crucial that you fight for large capital resources to be invested in tourism," Gallagher said to Ross. "We need a programme of scale that is meaningful to achieve our ambition and realise the potential we know to be real. With that, the 50,000 jobs I’ve mentioned. We must see a restoration of appropriate overseas marketing budgets that is fit for purpose and allows us to compete for business without one hand tied behind our back. We want you, Minister, to be our champion at cabinet."
He added that a cohesive, joint plan needed to be developed for "the significant problems which seem increasingly likely to emerge from a hard Brexit".