Positive signs of Tourism jobs growth

Last May the Government introduced a 9% VAT rate for tourism and hospitality businesses as part of the Jobs Initiative. This was designed to protect existing jobs, create new ones, shore up existing businesses and help improve the value for money perception of Irish tourism. Other measures like the halving in employers’ PRSI and the Visa Waiver scheme were also introduced.

The latest Quarterly National Household Survey shows that employment in the accommodation and food service sector has increased by 6,000 since the Jobs Initiative was launched in May 2011. It also shows that employment in the tourism sector overall increased by more than 10,000 since the Government took office.

Quarter Employment level
January-March 102,900
April-June 2011 107,200
October-December 2011 114,800

Minister Varadkar said: ‘I very much welcome the increase in employment in the accommodation and food sector. The signs are still tentative. However, tourism was identified as a key priority by the Government when we first came to power one year ago, and it is encouraging to see that Government policies seem to be having a positive result’.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. Unemployment is still unacceptably high and we have a long way to go, including in the hospitality sector. Ireland is one of the most globalised countries in the world, and our tourism industry is vulnerable to global economic trends.

“Last year saw the first growth in visitor numbers since 2007, and the challenge is to maintain this growth in 2012. Traditionally, St Patrick’s Day has signalled the start of the tourism season in Ireland and we are planning a number of initiatives next week to raise Ireland’s profile as a holiday destination. I will also be performing the international launch of The Gathering 2013 next week. This will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism event with a year-long festival of festivals. We want to make 2013 the year of Irish tourism.