THE Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed the retention of the 9% tourism VAT rate announced as part of Budget 2018. Patrick O’Donoghue, chair of the IHF’s Kerry branch, said the rate has been instrumental in the recovery of the tourism industry, which has created approximately 60,000 new jobs since the measure was introduced in 2011.
The Kerry IHF chair said: “Tourism is an indigenous export industry which not only supports approximately 230,000 jobs – equivalent to 11% of total employment in Ireland it also plays a vital role in addressing the regional imbalance in our economy. The 9% VAT rate has been the single most important fiscal initiative for Irish tourism in the last decade and we are pleased the Government has retained the measure.
“It demonstrates that it has been highly effective in job creation and also acknowledges that we have a pro-tourism Government who see the value the industry brings to every part of our country. The decision is a critical vote of confidence in the tourism industry at a time when it faces significant risks, most notably from Brexit.”
Mr O’Donoghue added: “Tourism is one of Ireland’s largest employers. It currently supports some 230,000 jobs and is on-track to create a further 40,000 new jobs by 2021. Direct actions by the government including the 9% VAT rate [and the zero rate travel tax] have helped level the playing field for tourism businesses to compete for visitors with other European destinations and are vital in underpinning and sustaining that growth.”
“Tourism makes an important contribution to the economy of every county and town in Ireland. While the industry has returned to growth, with Brexit looming, a weaker sterling and a continued slowdown in tourism growth, there is no room for complacency.”
Above: Kerry IHF chair Patrick O’Donoghue.