“CSO figures released today have seen a 10% increase in tourists visiting Ireland, totally over 5 million overseas visitors, in the first nine months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. These figures are very encouraging and indicate that the measures introduced by this Government in support of the tourism industry are proving fruitful” stated Kildare North TD,

Anthony Lawlor

From a national perspective, tourism was very much a feature of the Jobs Initiative plan as announced by the Government earlier this year. Measures such as the reduction in the level of VAT to 9% in labour intensive tourism services; the halving of employers’ PRSI; and introducing a tourist visa waiver for those travelling with a valid UK visa, have helped to lower the cost of travelling to Ireland and ease of entry into the country. Minister Leo Varadkar has also announced a number of initiatives to further support the tourism industry in the coming years such as The Gathering, which involves individuals and groups inviting visitors to Ireland in 2013, and an investment of €9 million to an overseas marketing campaign.

At a local level, I was delighted to learn that the County Kildare Fáilte Interim Group has recently been established to focus on and develop a plan for tourism in County Kildare. This group comprises of experienced and successful members of the local tourist trade such as representatives from the restaurant and accommodation industry, Newbridge Silverware and John Osborne of the National Stud, who was recently commended for his role in bringing Queen Elizabeth to the County during her visit to Ireland last May.

“I am encouraged by the establishment of this group and confident that they will be successful in their goal to develop tourism in the County. The great thing about the Irish tourist industry is that everyone can play their part in making it a success and consequently aiding in Ireland’s economic recovery”, concluded Anthony Lawlor TD.