12 July 2017
By Tom Collins
A Department of Finance briefing document prepared for Minister Paschal Donohoe argued the 9% VAT rate should be scrapped and that a return to the 13.5 per cent rate would yield €500 million a year. Ireland South MEP and member of the EU Tourism Taskforce Deirdre Clune has described the proposal as short sighted.
Clune described the 9% tourism VAT rate as a key policy in regenerating tourism, in particular in rural Ireland.
“This has been one of the most successful job creation initiatives in modern times, helping to create more than 30,000 new jobs. Tourism grew by 3% between January and May 2017, on the back of already strong growth in 2016. The reduced VAT rate has helped the tourism sector to remain competitive whilst offering competitive prices on our tourism product.
“Any calls to increase the VAT rate are irresponsible in the extreme and will reverse the good progress we have made in restoring Irelands tourism industry to health.
“While I understand that this is just a position paper from the Department of Finance, it is important that the tourism sector come together and make their voices heard.
Visitors from North America grew by 23.6% in the first 5 months of 2017. Visitor numbers from Australia and Developing Markets were up 21.7%. Arrivals from Mainland Europe grew by 4% – with important markets like France, Germany, Spain and Italy continuing to perform well.