The appointment of Limerick County TD Patrick O'Donovan as Minister of State for Tourism and Sport has been welcomed by the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Irish Hotels Federation.
The representative bodies said that his appointment will play an important role in ensuring national policies focus on supporting and developing this essential industry.
Tourism is the country's largest indigenous employer, supporting over 205,000 jobs, attracting over 8.5 million overseas visitors and generating a total revenue of €7.3 billion. With the tourism sector significantly recovering over the past few years, the pub trade has also greatly benefitted, as overseas visitors consistently ranking traditional Irish pubs as one of their top attractions.
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The VFI hope that the new Minister will recognise this contribution and that the pub industry and its 40,000 employees will continue offering value and quality service. Joe Dolan, the IHF President (pictured), points out that it would be unwise to take tourism's continued growth for granted; that further progress is needed to ensure the industry reaches its potential.
“Our industry is now on track to create a further 40,000 additional jobs by 2021. However, this can only be achieved if tourism remains to the fore of Government decision making and continues to be supported by longterm policies focused on growth and employment.” said Mr. Dolan
However, a concern for the VFI is the fact that Ireland has one of the highest excise levels on beer in Europe, with it being ten times that of Spain or Portugal, as a result making the island more expensive for tourists. The VFI say that they look forward to discussing this issue with O'Donovan in the future, among other important tourism topics.