Dáil Éireann - Volume 431 - 26 May, 1993

Written Answers. - Tourism Industry.

27. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the measures, if any, which are envisaged to raise the status of tourism in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress and the Culliton report in view of the proven track record of the industry in job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Tourism and Trade (Mr. McCreevy): The Programme for Economic and Social Progress acknowledges tourism as a major contributor to wealth [876] and job creation in our economy and more recently, the Programme for a Partnership Government 1993-1997 contains a special commitment towards the further development of the industry.

The establishment of the new Department of Tourism and Trade, which pulls together responsibility for Bord Fáilte, CERT and the tourism related functions of Shannon Development, provides a new focus and impetus for the sector and gives it an enhanced international dimension.

Ambitious targets have been set for the sector in the Government's five-year programme i.e. to increase foreign earnings by 50 per cent and provide an additional 35,000 jobs in the sector. For this reason, one of the Minister's immediate priorities in the preparation of a new development plan for the tourism sector for the period 1994-99, which will maximise the use of Structural Funds to help tourism to achieve its full potential in the Irish economy.

While the Culliton recommendations did not specifically relate to tourism, the combined effects of the implementation programme set out by the Government in “Employment through Enterprise” will have the effect of considerably enhancing the prospects for new business and job creation in the sector. Improved access in ports, more competitive transport costs and a freeing up of competition in other sectors which directly affect costs for the industry will be beneficial and are envisaged under the strategic approach of “Employment through Enterprise”.