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Dublin MEP hosts Summit of Irish Tourism & Hospitality Chiefs in Brussels

Andrews proposes dedicated EU budget for tourism

Forty-five leaders of the Irish Tourism and Hospitality Sectors will attend a summit in Brussels today, hosted by Dublin MEP Barry Andrews, to discuss EU supports for the Irish tourism industry.The meeting pulls together EU officials and leaders of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Restaurants’ Association of Ireland, Irish Ferries, the Irish Heritage Trust, the OPW, the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance, the Irish Self-Catering Federation, the Irish Caravan and Camping Confederation, a number of tour operator companies, the four Dublin local authorities, and representatives of key tourist attractions such as Trinity College, the Convention Centre, Kildare Village, and the EPIC museum.Speaking ahead of the meeting, Dublin MEP Barry Andrews called for a dedicated EU Budget for Tourism.“The tourism industry is a major cog in the wheel of Europe’s economy.  It accounts for 12% of employment across the EU – and in Ireland, that percentage is even higher. It is our largest indigenous industry, directly employing more than 284,000 people and supporting 20,000 Irish SMEs.  In recent years we have made great strides in tapping into EU funding to help grow and promote the Irish tourism industry.  But with new challenges in operating costs, it’s clear that greater supports are needed to secure further growth,” MEP Andrews said.“Today’s meeting is about hearing directly from the businesses, the tour operators, the hotel and restaurant owners and those who run our tourist attractions about the challenges facing the sector in the coming years. It’s about putting our heads together on how we can best use our membership of the EU to boost the competitiveness of Irish tourism, increase the supports available to those operating in the sector, and foster cooperation with our fellow EU Member States so that we feel the benefit of pitching the EU to the international community as a top tourism destination.“I believe it is time for a dedicated EU budget for tourism to pull together the multiple schemes and supports available to the tourism industry across EU Member States.   This would underpin the EU’s tourism policy and send a strong message about our commitment to protecting future spending for this vital sector.”The Chairperson of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Elaina Fitzgerald, commented, “Today will be a very interesting and informative day for ITIC Council members. Europe has a key legislative and policy role to play in Irish tourism. Meeting Barry Andrews and relevant EU officials is extremely worthwhile.”

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