Tourism is one of Ireland's most important economic sectors and has significant potential to play a further role in Ireland's economic renewal. In 2013, tourism was responsible for overseas earnings of €3.3 billion (excluding carrier receipts – airfares and ferry costs). Combining the data from the domestic market and international visitors, total tourism revenue for the economy in 2013 was around €5.7 billion. Of this revenue, €1.4 billion directly benefited the Exchequer through taxation.
The tourism sector supports 137,000 jobs in the accommodation and food sector alone, and overall employment in tourism is estimated to be in the region of 200,000. Tourism also shapes Ireland’s image and attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest.
Data from the Central Statistics Office for 2013 show that, while overall visits to Ireland in 2013 rose by 7.2% (6.98 million trips), core tourism visits grew strongly with holiday trips up 8% and business trips up 5.1%. Visits to friends and relatives in Ireland rose by 10.8%. Spending by visitors to Ireland also increased in 2013, with total tourism and travel earnings from overseas visitors growing by 9.4% to €4.12 billion.
This positive performance was supported by Government initiatives like ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and actions under the Jobs Initiative, including reducing VAT on certain tourism services to 9% and the introduction of the Visa Waiver Programme.
Role of Department (Tourism Division), Tourism Agencies and Others
The Department's Tourism Division sets national tourism policy, providing the strategic direction required to support the growth of a competitive and sustainable tourism industry, through the development, implementation and influencing of a range of policy actions and programmes by the Department, its Agencies and other Government Departments, in consultation with industry partners. The tourism agencies, operating under the aegis of the Department, have been established to deal with the administration of that policy.
Fáilte Ireland was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003, following the amalgamation of Bord Fáilte Éireann and CERT, to encourage, promote and support tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.
Tendances et politiques du tourisme de l'OCDE 2014 : les fiches pays