New 23 Point Tourism Action Plan Announced

A new Tourism Action Plan for 2016 to 2018 has been announced by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring.

The Plan contains 23 Actions that will be carried out in order to help achieve the overall policy objectives in the Government's Tourism Policy Statement, "People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025".

The Action Plan was prepared by the Tourism Leadership Group, appointed by Minister Donohoe in July 2015 with representatives from a broad range of tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector.

Commenting on the Tourism Action Plan, Minister Donohoe said: "Our Tourism Policy Statement published in 2015, sets out three headline targets, to be achieved by 2025; overseas tourism revenue of €5 billion per year excluding air fares or ferry charges; 250,000 people employed in tourism compared to 205,000 at present, underpinned by ten million overseas visits to Ireland per year. The Tourism Action Plan sets out 23 key actions required in order to secure continued growth in overseas tourism revenue and employment, and provide the foundation for achievement of the 2025 targets."

Among the issues covered in the Tourism Action Plan are:

• a restoration of overseas tourism marketing funds to pre-recession levels, and a commitment to improving the presentation of and access to State owned heritage and cultural attractions;

• the extension to 2018 of a fund to encourage direct air and sea access to airports and ferry ports in the regions;

• the preparation of a list of possible themes for a focused tourism marketing initiative (including a possibility of a successor to The Gathering) for decision by Government;

• Fáilte Ireland to publish an analysis of hotel capacity issues in Dublin with recommendations on how to address any shortfalls;

• a commitment to support the IRFU's bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023; and

• enhanced collaboration between Fáilte Ireland and Bord Bia on the development of food-related experiences for tourists.

Minister Donohoe added: "Figures published yesterday confirmed that 2015 was a record year for Irish tourism. We are not content to sit back on our laurels however, and are determined that the tourism sector will continue to play a key part in our economic recovery.

"Amongst the measures in the Action Plan is a commitment to bringing our overseas marketing spend back up to pre-recession levels to ensure continued growth in overseas visits to Ireland. Furthermore, in order to adapt to a changing global market, a new targeted strategy to increase visitor numbers and revenue from new and developing markets will be developed. The strategy will focus not only on marketing but also on the training and up-skilling that is required for the tourism industry here to meet the needs of visitors from these markets.

"There will also be enhanced co-operation with key bodies in the heritage sector, like the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the OPW, and others to ensure that Ireland's heritage sites are presented to overseas visitors in the best way possible. We will also examine the funding arrangements for festivals and events to ensure the highest possible impact in terms of attracting overseas visitors."


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