Kevin Toland, CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority, who is set to leave his post later this year, has appeared before a Seanad Special Select Committee on Brexit.
Toland spoke about the effects of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, which he claims, “will be visible from next spring, with airlines offering less routes to the UK, and at higher prices. He also warned that the UK will become a bigger competitor of Ireland’s both in terms of tourism and the provision of flights to regional airports in the UK.
He said, “At present, over 40 per cent of tourist numbers into Ireland come in from Britain, with these visitors generating more than €1billion in revenue for the Irish economy last year.” In a stern warning, Toland confirmed that the tourist numbers were already dropping, with trips by British visitors to the Republic down between February and April this year, when compared to last year’s figures for the same period.
He also warned that the UK could become more competitive in attracting tourists away from Ireland as the sterling weakens, he said. This does not take into the account the effects that last week’s election result in the UK will have on these statistics.
Toland advised the Seanad that the Irish airline industry needs to develop greater numbers of long-haul flights and that the building of a new runway at the airport is of urgent priority. He also advised that Ireland should market itself as the ‘business destination of choice, thus minimising the expected effects of Brexit.