Drinks/hospitality vital to post-Brexit tourism

The massive and far-reaching role of the drinks and hospitality sector in supporting Ireland’s tourism offer has been highlighted in a new report by DCU economist Tony Foley, commissioned by the Support Your Local campaign.

The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism points out that the UK vote to leave the EU will impact on the Government’s ambitious targets for the tourism industry outlined in its 2015 Tourism Policy.

Therefore, the drinks and hospitality industry should be supported appropriately as it can contribute to the realisation of these ambitious tourism growth targets.

The report highlights the significant role of the hospitality sector, with 7193 pubs, 631 hotel bars and 2406 licenced restaurants across Ireland.

The pub was mentioned by almost a third of visitors as a positive distinguishing feature of Ireland in 2015.

The report also points out that the network of pubs, hotel bars and licenced restaurants across Ireland supports the regional spread of tourism. This is particularly significant as the Government seeks to promote tourism outside Dublin through initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way. These organisations make a substantial contribution to the positive visitor experience and despite notable struggles in recent years, these small businesses exist in every town and village across Ireland.

The drinks industry also contributes significantly to tourism through the direct provision of major tourism attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse, Old Jameson Distillery and other visitor centres, like the Kilbeggan Distillery and Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre.

With the Irish whiskey renaissance in full-swing and Ireland’s beer industry more popular than ever, there are a number of newer visitor centres opening up and like the hospitality sector these centres are located all across Ireland, promoting regional tourism.

“The tourism industry is expected to be a major source of economic development and employment growth over the coming years, although Brexit will make it much harder to realise the growth potential,” stated DCU Economist Tony Foley, “To achieve this desirable and demanding growth the tourism industry will need widespread support including the ongoing substantial direct and indirect support provided by the drinks industry.”

Michael Storan, Campaign Manager for Support Your Local added, “Today’s report confirms the importance of the drinks and hospitality industry to domestic and international tourism. We’re calling on the Government to show support for this industry with a 15% reduction in alcohol excise in the next Budget. This will foster growth in the drinks and hospitality sector and allow it to contribute to the Government’s tourism targets. This is particularly significant in the wake of the Brexit vote.”

The Support Your Local campaign – backed by pubs, hotels, restaurants, drinks suppliers and independent off-licences – is also calling on the Government to reverse excise on alcohol by 15% in the next Budget.

Irish excise on wine is 106 times higher here than in France according to the drinks industry’s Support Your Local campaign which recently analysed the tax take on wine in France and Ireland.

It found that excise tax on a 750ml standard bottle of wine in Ireland is €3.19 while excise on a standard bottle of wine in France is €0.03.

Between 2012 and 2013 the Government implemented huge excise increases as “an emergency measure” and these increases have remained in place ever since. In less than 12 months (between December 2012 and October 2013) the Irish government increased excise on wine by 62%. Ireland now has the highest excise on wine in the EU, while 15 countries in the EU pay no tax on wine.


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