Tuesday, 21 May 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
16. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade his views on the opinion of the Tourism Council sub-committee on domestic tourism marketing initiative that the current level of the Bord Fáilte budget would require an additional allocation in the region of £800,000 per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10264/96]
41. Miss Quill asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the way in which the £500,000 allocated towards implementation of the initiative of development of domestic tourism will be spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10273/96]
56. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the progress, if any, made to date in implementing the domestic tourism initiative as outlined in the Tourism Council report of September 1995. [10265/96]
256. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade if he will give details of the recently announced initiative for marketing home holidays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10292/96]
On 22 February last I announced a special joint home holiday initiative for the tourism industry on the basis of a specific allocation of £500,000 which I  secured from Government towards the implementation costs, with co-financing from the industry. This initiative was in response to recommendations contained in the report on domestic tourism prepared for the Tourism Council.
I sought and received the views of a wide range of interested parties on the recommendations in the domestic tourism report. I subsequently set up a steering group, which I chair, to examine the report, its recommendations and the submissions received with a view to developing an advertising and promotion programme to stimulate and accelerate growth in the home holiday market, particularly in the shoulder and off season periods. The work of this group is now almost completed and I expect to be able to announce details of a wide ranging domestic marketing programme shortly.
Mr. O'Sullivan: The working group is comprised of experts in the field. I do not have the expertise of some of them. I referred the matter to them and they came back with proposals to the steering group. We hope to finalise the matter within the next ten days.
Mr. O'Sullivan: The sectoral representatives are Mr. Dick Burke, Jury's Hotel; Mrs. Patsy Ryan, Arbutus Hotel, Cork; Mrs. Eileen McDonagh. Irish Farm Holidays Association; Mr. Derek Dann, Irish Boat Rental Association; Mr. Dermot Cronin, Coach Tourism Council; Mr. Diarmuid Kenneally, Irish Caravan Council; Mrs. Mary McGee, Town and Country Homes Association; Mr. Raymond Marshall, Irish Cottage Holiday Homes Association: Miss Helen Cummins, Logis Ireland; Mr. Con Ó Connaill, manager of Cork and Kerry Tourism, representing the RTOs; Ms Orla Branigan and Ms Hilary White, Bord Fáilte; Mr. John Leonard of Shannon Development; and Mr. John Healy of CIE Tourism International. Other members of the group, which I chair, include special adviser Mr. Tony Brown, Mr. Denis Colfer, Principal Officer at the Department of Tourism and Trade and Mr. Gerard Bannville, secretary to the group. We have a good cross section of the industry in this group.
Mr. Killeen: I agree it is an impressive working group. Did the working group consider the success of the Northern  Ireland Tourist Board in attracting visitors from the Republic, particularly last year and the year before, and the relative lack of success in this country in terms of domestic tourism in areas which have shown minimal or no growth and in the shoulder season?
Mr. O'Sullivan: This initiative was undertaken in an effort to check the decline in domestic tourist numbers. We hope we will be able to encourage people to take holidays at home, particularly in the shoulder and off peak periods. I appreciate that arising from the ceasefire there was a fall off in business from the North. We hope to address that problem and to encourage people to holiday at home, if possible. The Government has given £0.5 million to initiate this programme which will be coupled with a contribution from the industry.
Mr. O'Sullivan: As regards Deputy Keogh's question, it is £800,000 for one year. I hope a similar sum will be available to us in the coming year. We must bear in mind that there will not be action on this programme before June. Some £0.5 million for half a year is a generous amount when matched with funds from the industry.
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