Dáil Éireann - Volume 537 - 29 May, 2001

Written Answers. - Tourism Industry.

370. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will give sympathetic consideration to the plight of the Irish Farmhouse Holiday Group whose trade has been [512] considerably diminished by the foot and mouth disease restrictions; if compensation has been approved for this particular group which would alleviate their current financial difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16017/01]

371. Ms Clune asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if he will provide funding to support operators in the tourist business to market their products following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16018/01]

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): I propose to take Questions Nos. 370 and 371 together.

Following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and its adverse impact on the tourism sector, I secured an additional £5 million in Exchequer funding for a major tourism marketing reassurance programme by Bord Fáilte for the promotion of Ireland in the major overseas source markets as well as support for a campaign directed at increased domestic holiday taking by Irish people. In addition, Bord Fáilte redirected £3 million from their own resources to the programme and a further £2 million was announced by the Government at its meeting yesterday in Killarney, bringing the total budget for the campaign to £10 million as originally requested by the industry. These actions are, of course, incremental to the 2001 budget previously approved for tourism marketing which represented the largest ever level of State funding for tourism marketing and brings the total Exchequer provision now for tourism marketing and promotion in 2001 to £67 million.

All tourism regions and operators, including the Irish Farmhouse Holiday Group, will benefit from the major additional tourism marketing activities being undertaken. The main objective of the campaign is to get Ireland back into the minds of prospective travellers as an attractive holiday destination through a range of marketing activities conducted, in many cases, jointly with local tour operators, carriers and other relevant trade.

As regards measures to alleviate possible financial difficulties being experienced by tourism operators, the Irish Bankers Federation, in a statement on 30 March, indicated its commitment to give careful and sympathetic consideration to requests for particular support from those customers who encounter financial problems. The Department of Finance has also confirmed that, in so far as particular cash flow problems arise for individual businesses, the Revenue Commissioners will, as part of normal arrangements, look sympathetically at payment arrangements on a case by case basis.