Sinn Féin spokesperson for Tourism Imelda Munster TD has said that the government must step in and address the utter chaos affecting the tourism industry, citing the ongoing delays at Dublin Airport, the passport office as well as the escalation in hotel prices in recent weeks.
Teachta Munster said that many of these problems were “entirely foreseeable” and with some pre-planning could have been avoided. Instead the country faces significant reputational damage as a result of the chaos in the sector.
Teachta Munster said:
“The chaos at the airport and at the passport office could have been pre-empted with pre-planning and proper management. Neither should have been left until the 11thhour, where we are now entering peak travel season with utter chaos at the airport and at the passport office.
“The spiralling costs of hotel accommodation is another issue that needs to be addressed. Even the tiniest amount of research will show that hotels across the continent provide better value and are far cheaper.
“Other European countries are having to contend with a cost of living crisis and price increases – it’s not a uniquely Irish problem. However prices here are soaring far above prices in other major European cities.
“This is the same industry that was begging people to holiday at home during the Covid-19 pandemic to help them out, and people duly obliged.
“They were supported throughout the pandemic, and rightly so, but it’s a kick in the teeth now to people to see that as soon as tourism picks up they are back to the price hikes and back to ripping people off.
“The government recently extended the 9% VAT rate for the industry. Questions have to be asked about that now – is the reduction being passed on the consumer? It doesn’t appear to be the case when we look at extortionate hotel rates.
“The VAT reduction is costing the taxpayer several hundred million euro, and tax payers clearly aren’t seeing the benefit of that in room rates. The government needs to ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money.
“Tourism is one of Ireland’s biggest industries. The revenue intake is very important to our economy. However the chaos at the airport and the cost of accommodation is leading to Ireland gaining a reputation as a place to avoid if these issues aren’t addressed.
“The DAA needs to explain the chaos that went on over the weekend – next weekend is a bank holiday and we can’t see a repeat of those scenes again. There can be no excuse – they had ample time to pre-plan. We’re talking about a semi-state company here – it’s high time that the government took real action on this.”