VAT reduction necessary for tourism sector to survive

CEO of Tourism Northern Ireland, John McGrillen said that the industry was totally dependent on the domestic market this season. Picture: PA

The chairperson of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Ruth Andrews has said that a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector is vital to ensure its survival.

A similar reduction in 2011 had a positive impact and enabled the tourism sector to recover at a better pace and assisted job creation, she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Addressing concerns that the VAT reduction would not be passed on to customers, Ms Andrews said that in 2011 it had and it had stimulated demand.

The reduction had to be passed on to customers and they could see it on their bills.

The CEO of Tourism Northern Ireland, John McGrillen said that the industry was totally dependent on the domestic market this season, people should be encouraged to go out and spend and to holiday at home as it was vital to save jobs.

On Newstalk Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland backed the VAT reduction and wanted the rate for pubs to be same as the hospitality sector as it is in Spain and other countries.

Many pubs will not be able to reopen because (with the constraint on numbers) it would not be viable to do so, she said.

The Government could make this a short recession because they can borrow at 0.3% and could pass it on, she added.

If this were to happen the sector could be back to trading levels.

On the issue of a number of pubs not observing the guidelines of providing food with alcohol last weekend, Ms Callan said the behaviour of the 26 pubs not in compliance was “just not acceptable.” 

Gardaí carried out 6,830 checks on almost 3,000 licensed premises all over the country last weekend.

Of the 2,785 licensed premises open the vast majority were in compliance.

While the figure of 26 out of 2,785 was small, she said, even one was too many.

“It’s just too risky.” 

Ms Callan said the gardaí should be using their enforcement powers.