Dáil Éireann - Volume 557 - 20 November, 2002
Written Answers. - Tourism Promotion.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
170. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the extent to which he expects to put in place incentives to assist the tourism industry in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22956/02]
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Mr. O'Donoghue)
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Mr. O'Donoghue): Marketing is a key element of Government policy for the tourism sector. The priority for the tourism industry for 2003 has to be to sustain strong international marketing campaigns, to ensure that Ireland remains in the minds of potential visitors and to meet the more intense international competition that has emerged recently. Tourism Ireland and Bord Fáilte are working in close consultation with the industry, North and South, on their marketing programmes for 2003. This close interface with the industry will ensure that the programmes are soundly based and target the available resources where they can deliver the greatest dividends. I look forward to launching the new 2003 programmes in December.
My objective during the recent discussions on the Estimates for 2003 was to ensure that sufficient funding would be available within the tourism budget to mount robust marketing campaigns in our key target markets next year. I am particularly pleased that the Government has agreed to increase the tourism marketing subhead by 20% to €30.4 million which is the highest in the history of the State.
Other public sector support available to the tourism industry for the period of the national development plan from tourism agencies under the aegis of my Department include Bord Fáilte's tourism product development scheme, funded under the two regional operational programmes, and CERT's training programmes, funded under the human resources operational programme. Full details are available directly from the relevant agencies.
Next year will see a very welcome development in terms of support for the sector with the creation of a new national tourism development authority, bringing together Bord Fáilte and  CERT to promote the development of sustainable tourist facilities and services, including the promotion of training, human resources and marketing skills. On taking office, I moved quickly to establish an interim board to accelerate the preparatory work, including arrangements for the appointment of an interim chief executive, in order that the authority could be up and running in time for the 2003 season. The draft legislation to give effect to the new authority has been agreed by Government and will be published shortly. The new authority will be ideally positioned to help the industry to address the new set of challenges facing tourism as we go into the 21st century, including issues such as value for money, competitiveness and quality, which were subject to much public debate this year.
Dáil Éireann 557 Written Answers. Tourism Promotion.