A recent poll of Vintners Federation of Ireland and Restaurant Association of Ireland members by Support Your Local shows them suffering a downturn in British tourist spend in July and August.
“Members in the border counties are seeing a downturn of between 8 and 12% spend of British tourists compared to this time last year,” according to VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “We firmly believe that the Brexit Vote has resulted in an even stronger case for a significant reduction in alcohol excise. Budget 2017 should compensate for the negative effect of Brexit such as exchange rate uncertainty, impacts of a new ‘border’ and the impacts that Brexit might have on British tourists and their spend in Ireland.”
At the announcement of the poll results RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins claimed, “The combination of high excise and the uncertainty over Brexit has caused the ‘Perfect Storm’ for the restaurant trade and the tourism market in Ireland. Excise is a tax on jobs, it’s a tax on tourism and it’s a tax on Irish consumers. In our recent poll our members told us that they’re already feeling the pressure as they report an average 12% downturn for British tourists spend for July & August compared to the same time in 2015 with the effects of Sterling exchange being cited as a factor.
“It’s more worrying however when we talk to our members in the border counties who’re seeing a drop of up to 20% on cross-border spend in July/August compared to this time last year. The ‘Support Your Local’ campaign warned earlier this year that we were about to face ‘the Perfect Storm’ with high excise and Brexit – we in the restaurant industry are already feeling the chill winds.
“Excise increases in Budget 2012 and 2013 were applied at a time of economic crisis. Now that we’re moving towards recovery we need to take this heavy burden off consumers, tourists, businesses and employees across the drinks and hospitality sector which currently employs over 204,000 people with a combined wage bill of €4.3 billion in every corner of Ireland. The 2014 Fáilte Ireland Survey said that the British market is vital to us, as in 2015 Ireland received 3.5 million visitors, generating just over €1bn in tourism revenue.”
Support your local campaign is calling on the Government to reduce excise by 15% in the next Budget.