No change in VAT rate welcomed by local hoteliers

By david tucker

Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00

Wexford hotelier Bill Kelly and his daughter Laura.
Wexford hotelier Bill Kelly and his daughter Laura.

wexford hoteliers have warmly welcomed the retention of the nine per cent tourism VAT rate announced in the Budget, saying it will allow them to create and sustain more jobs.

'We were thrilled that it stayed at nine per cent, it would have been a huge blow had it changed back to 13.5 per cent,' said Bill Kelly, the owner of Kelly's Resort Hotel and Spa.

'The lower rate has helped us grow the industry and has helped us to create more jobs locally,' said Mr Kelly, adding that in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union and the resulting plunge in the value of Sterling it was vitally important for the Irish tourism to be sustained and nurtured.

'I would be very surprised if it didn't have an impact,' he said, commenting on the volatile exchange rate between the Euro and Sterling, given the importance of UK tourism to Ireland.

'It (the exchange rate) might get worse, it might get better.'

Talking about the retention of the lower VAT rate, Mr Kelly said 'it was great that the government saw the importance of tourism to the economy'

Mr Kelly said his hotel, like many others in the county, had had a very busy summer.

'It has been choc-a-bloc right through the summer and now into September and October.'

Aidan Quirke, South East Branch Chair of the IHF said the nine per cent rate has been instrumental in the recovery of the tourism industry, which has created some 50,000 new jobs since the measure was introduced in 2011.

'This measure has been the single most important fiscal initiative for Irish tourism in the last decade and we are pleased the Government has retained the rate. It demonstrates that it has been highly effective in job creation and also acknowledges that we have a pro-tourism Government who see the value the industry brings to every part of our country located on the periphery of Europe. The decision is a vote of confidence in the tourism industry at a time of uncertainty due to Brexit,' he said.

'Tourism is one of Ireland's largest employers. It currently supports some 220,000 jobs and is on-track to create a further 40,000 new jobs by 2021.

'Direct actions by the government including the nine per cent VAT rate [and the zero rate travel tax] have helped level the playing field for tourism businesses to compete for visitors with other European destinations and are vital in underpinning and sustaining that growth.'

Mr Quirke said tourism makes an makes an important contribution to the economy of every town and village in Ireland.

'While the industry has returned to growth, with Brexit on the horizon, a weaker Sterling and an uncertain global outlook, there is no room for complacency,' he said.

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