Ireland's move on tax and visas boosts tourism

Ireland's move on tax and visas boosts tourism

Reduced taxation and the easing of tourist visa rules means that Ireland is outperforming tourism to the UK, according to new research.

UK-based B2B wholesaler JacTravel has seen its Irish business increase by 223%, whereas UK business has grown 111% since 2009.

The company attributes this to Ireland’s pro-tourism measures such as slashing the rates of Air Passenger Duty from €10 in 2010 to €3 in 2011 and the reduction in VAT on tourism services from 21% in 2010 to 9% in 2011. The country also started to accept visitors with UK tourist visas from 2011.

JacTravel chief executive Terry Williamson said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the desirability of Ireland as a destination has been enhanced by the pro-tourism measures taken by the Irish government, which evidently understands the value of tourism as a great way to earn foreign currency.

“Belfast - in Northern Ireland - has been an accidental beneficiary of this initiative because although it has not reduced taxes, it has profited from the increase in visitors to Ireland as a whole.

“If Westminster were to follow Dublin’s example, our industry would be hailed for being at the heart of an export-led recovery.”


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