Thursday, 11 December 1980
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. O'Keeffe: asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism whether he is aware of the serious problems faced by hotel and guesthouse owners in meeting rate bills and other outgoings after a poor tourist season and if he has any proposals to relieve the situation to enable them to remain in business.
Mr. Meaney: I do not accept the implication in the Deputy's question that the tourist industry is having a bad year. Preliminary indications at this stage would suggest that total tourism revenue, that is out of State tourism plus home holidays for the year, will be of the order of £540 million — an increase of 16 per cent over 1979. Given the depth of the international recession and the other problems the industry is having to cope with, I would regard an outturn of this order as satisfactory in the circumstances.
My information is that while the hotel — guesthouse sector did better for the  first half of 1980 compared to 1979, occupancy rates for the peak period have declined because of a number of factors. However, neither my Department nor, I am told, Bord Fáilte, have received any particular requests for special relief.
Mr. O'Toole: Is the Minister aware that there has been a net loss both in numbers of tourists and in revenue in this industry this year, as admitted by Bord Fáilte? Is the Minister not aware of this? If he is not, he ought to be. In the light of that the question asked if any specific measures could be taken to relieve the hardship on this industry when there is obviously a loss, which loss is admitted by the board in charge of this industry.
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): Is the Minister aware that according to figures published recently, with some authority, there was a net fall in volume and cash in the tourist business this year.
Mr. Meaney: The correct figures will not be available until about next June, but the present prediction is that there will be a 16 per cent increase in gross  revenue over 1979 and, with inflation at 18 per cent, that amounts to 2 per cent less than last year.
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