Dáil Éireann - Volume 445 - 11 October, 1994

Written Answers. - Tourism Promotion.

73. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the reason Ireland has no promotional presence in Taiwan despite its tourist potential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9/94]

Minister for Tourism and Trade (Mr. McCreevy): Bord Fáilte does not have a permanent promotional presence in Taiwan because the existing level of tourism business would not justify the high costs involved. However, to keep a watch on the potential for future business, close contact is being maintained with the major tour operators, publicity and media sources there.

74. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the views expressed in a recent newspaper article (details supplied) captioned Millions Wasted on Tourism Promotion if Ireland does not [1026] tackle issue of flights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [703/94]

100. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade his views on whether uncompetitive access transport fares are an obstacle to tourism growth; and the steps, if any, he is taking to deal with this aspect of the tourism industry. [709/94]

Minister for Tourism and Trade (Mr. McCreevy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 100 together.

The matter of flights and transport fares are a matter in the first instance for the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications. I understand that under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2409/92 on fares and rates for air services which came into effect on 1 January 1993, all EU airlines are free to set air fares on intra-Community routes without regulatory inteference by Governments, subject to certain safeguards.

From a tourism perspective I am, of course concerned that air fares to Ireland should be competitive. Considerable improvements have taken place in recent years in access to this country and Ireland is relatively well serviced by both charters and Schedule flights and by sea carriers.

There is also open competition on sea-ferry routes and both vehicle and passenger traffic continues to increase. In 1995 capacity on the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire routes will be significantly enhanced when B & I and Stena introduce their new ferries.

I allocated £3 million to a special advertising campaign in the US market in 1994 and this has proved very successful in bringing an additional 40,000 US tourists to Ireland. This means that almost half a million US tourists will visit Ireland this year. Marketing support is available to sea and air carriers through the Operational Programme for Tourism, 1994-1999, with a maximum rate of 50 per cent for off peak business.