Local Fianna Fáil TD and the party’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien, has described Fáilte Ireland’s plans to close the only remaining tourist information office in Dublin airport as senseless.
Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority, whose role is to support the tourism industry and work to sustain Ireland as a high-quality and competitive tourism destination.
Commenting on the question he put to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport last week, O’Brien said, “In order to remain competitive in the global tourism market, Ireland must ensure that the quality of our services remains high, prices remain reasonable and that access to non-bias information which publicises the wide variety of regions and attractions across the country is available,” he said.
“Closing the only information office for tourists to approach at our country’s largest airport makes little sense when if anything, we should be increasing our efforts to attract and accommodate more tourists.”
“While the tourism experience offered in Ireland is unrivalled, we cannot afford to neglect the overall quality of the tourism offering in the country.”
“Dublin Airport continues to experience strong growth in volumes, with the latest observation breaking the previous record, welcoming more than 25 million people. Dublin Airport is currently the fastest growing major airport in Europe with 1.8m recorded passengers last month alone,” he added.
“The Department, the tourism agencies and local authorities do have a key role in devising tourism promotion strategies and policies. For all these bodies, we cannot get carried away with the success we have had in attracting tourists over the last number of years and we must not rest on our laurels. Facilitating the only tourist office in the airport to close is nonsensical,” he added.
“Since The Gathering, the government has neglected tourism product development and domestic and overseas marketing. In Budget 2017, the capital budget for tourism was cut by 4 per cent. This is incredible given the grave risks faced by the tourism sector, as a result of Brexit and sterling devaluation.”
“Brexit poses a real threat to further stable growth in the tourism industry, which the government and Minister Ross in particular, appear unaware of.
”I am disappointed that the Minister has refused to intervene but I have taken up this matter directly with Fáilte Ireland by asking them to reconsider their decision in a bid to ensure the office is kept open,” he concluded.