29/04/2015

Motor Fuel Tax Having 'Profound Effect' on Domestic Tourism - AA

Motor fuel tax is having a "profound effect" on domestic tourism, according to AA Hospitality Services.

The consumer services business carried out a survey asking motorists how pump prices affect will likely affect their leisure travel in the year ahead.

The AA said that while the research specifically references fluctuating fuel prices rather than direct taxation, the results would "seem to confirm that high petrol and diesel costs are dampening our local tourism market".

Of 8,000 people polled in March, 26% indicated that they are planning on taking more short weekend breaks in Ireland this year compared to last thanks to lower fuel prices. 16% also said they hope to afford more visits to see friends and family living in other counties.

Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan said: "We have said before that the super-high fuel taxes imposed during the financial crisis are still there and they have the effect of draining disposable income away from virtually every family in the country.

"It is an anti-stimulus measure that is holding back local businesses across the land. We deal directly with Hotels and B&Bs through the AA’s hospitality grading service and we know first-hand that the tourism industry is also taking an unnecessary hit because of it."

The group added that while fuel prices are on the increase, they are still "significantly lower" than they were this time last year.

According to the AA’s monthly fuel price index the national average of petrol and diesel respectively for the month of April 2015 are €1.39 and €1.31 per litre compared to €1.57 and €1.48 during the same period last year.

"Disappointedly fuel prices are on the rise again, a trend we're likely to see continue as we edge into summer," Mr Faughnan added.

"When this happens unsurprisingly it tends to have a detrimental effect on local tourism. While factors such as exchange rates and crude oil prices make for volatile prices, it’s our domestic taxation policy that takes the biggest bite of the cherry. In the context of Irish tourism and hospitality it feels a little like the Government is robbing Peter to pay Paul."

(MH/CD)

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