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Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | Development and protection of tourism industry

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the steps she continues to take to ensure that tourism is given every opportunity to develop and grow in the future notwithstanding the future challenges; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 26 January, 2023.

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the plans she has in place to protect Ireland’s tourism, given that 55,000 hotel rooms are assigned to Ukrainian refugees; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Alan Dillon T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 26 January, 2023.


Internationally, tourism continues to recover steadily yet several challenges remain, from geopolitical to economic. The combination of increasing interest rates in all major economies, rising energy and food prices and the growing prospects of a global recession are major threats to the recovery of international tourism for 2023. Hotel capacity, energy costs and labour shortages will continue to challenge the tourism industry here in Ireland this year.

Though the strong early recovery of inbound tourism to Ireland last year is very welcome, there are significant challenges facing the sector in 2023. Therefore, I am continuing to direct very significant resources to support the sustainable recovery of the sector.

In Budget 2023, I secured an additional €15 million for overseas marketing of Ireland. The Budget also contains an additional €15 million for a range of industry initiatives including €3 million for a continuation of the investment in skills development and retention which is critical as there are significant employment challenges faced by tourism businesses in attracting talent, assisting skills development and retaining staff. Additionally, a €2 million increase in funding for domestic marketing will continue to promote Ireland’s tourism offering to Irish holidaymakers.

I have also secured €3 million to allow Fáilte Ireland to continue its work in the area of sustainability. Other allocations include €36.5 million in capital funding for tourism product development for the continued delivery of enhanced visitor experiences in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan 2021-2030.

Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of activity in 2023, with a total marketing budget of €78 million. A wide range of promotional activities will be undertaken, including a new global marketing campaign, publicity and programming, social media and digital marketing, as well as working with the tourism industry at home and the travel trade overseas to facilitate sales.

Economic, social and environmental sustainability will be at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s work over the coming years, driving greater economic prosperity and benefiting communities right across the island, while at the same time increasing our consideration of the environmental impacts of tourism.

In addition, Fáilte Ireland will announce its plans for 2023 shortly.

The Government recognises the challenge that rapidly rising energy costs have been for businesses and introduced the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme last year.  The scheme, administered by the Revenue Commissioners, will provide support in this winter period to the industry including the tourism sector that has experienced a significant increase in its natural gas and electricity costs. The scheme will run from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023.

I recognise the growing concern among the wider tourism industry about how the amount of tourism bed stock taken out of the system for humanitarian reasons is likely to have a real impact on tourism’s recovery in 2023 and beyond. In addition, hotel accommodation is not an ideal medium-to-longer term solution for the accommodation needs of families and this is why the Government is exploring a wide range of alternative options including the rolling out of a rapid build housing programme to provide accommodation for families fleeing the war in Ukraine.

My Department has communicated these concerns to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and that Department is working urgently across Government with agencies, NGOs and local authorities to bring new accommodation on board, so that the State’s humanitarian responsibilities can be met.

My Department has initiated the development of a new National Sustainable Tourism Policy that will seek to mainstream sustainability. The development of this new policy will involve extensive consultation with the tourism industry and our communities to help set out a path for the coming years which will support a sustainable recovery and subsequent growth in the sector.

Initial consultations with key stakeholders have taken place with a purpose of helping inform the policy direction prior to a more widespread public consultation in the coming weeks.

This new tourism policy will seek to support sustainable economic development in communities throughout the country, whilst protecting our environment and natural resources, and with a greater spread of demand across the year.

While the sector faces many challenges, I am confident that the supports that the Government has put in place will ensure that Ireland’s tourism industry is well positioned to maintain current levels of recovery and to develop sustainably in the coming years.

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