Issues Paper and Request for submissions on developing a Tourism Policy Statement
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport AUGUST 2013
Foreword by Mr Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Mr. Michael Ring T.D. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport
The purpose of this document is to frame the debate on our future tourism policy. We are pleased to invite the tourism industry, consumers and other interested parties to contribute to the debate through this review of tourism policy. Tourism is an important driver of economic activity for Ireland. As well as being our longest-standing source of service export earnings, it also directly and indirectly supports employment across the country, both urban and rural. The tourism and hospitality industry employed approximately 185,000 people in 2012 and generated over 5 billion in revenue from home and abroad. Tourism is central to the Governments economic recovery programme. The competitiveness of the Irish tourism industry has been enhanced through a range of measures we have introduced, not least through the Action Plan for Jobs. These measures, together with tourism industry specific supports for marketing, enterprise development and capital investment have underpinned recovery and growth in the industry, particularly in overseas tourism. Competition in an evolving global tourism industry demands effective prioritisation of industry supports. It is therefore timely to commence a review of tourism policy and the views of stakeholders are invited on the policy position that Government should adopt, the steps the industry should take and the direction that the tourism agencies should follow to support a competitive and sustainable tourism industry in Ireland. Following the review, we plan to issue an overarching tourism policy statement to provide the necessary direction to support a competitive and sustainable tourism industry and give clear direction to the tourism agencies for carrying out their operational programmes. Your input into this process is valuable and through the continued efforts of all stakeholders we are confident that we can develop a policy to ensure a positive outlook for Irish tourism into the future.
______________________ _______________________ Leo Varadkar T.D. Michael Ring T.D. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister of State for Tourism and Sport
CONTENTS PAGE No.
The Consultation Process ....................................................................... 4 Executive Summary 5 Introduction 7 Tourism Policy Background - Rationale and History . 9 Tourism Marketing ....... 12 Tourism Product Development . 14 Human Resources and Training /Enterprise Support / Innovation and Competitiveness 17 Implementing Policy and Service Delivery Mechanisms 19 How to submit your views ........................................................................ 22 APPENDIX: FUNCTIONS OF THE TOURISM AGENCIES... 23
The Consultation Process: The purpose of this consultation process is to invite interested parties to submit written views / observations / suggestions to support a competitive and sustainable tourism industry in Ireland. It is envisaged that this public consultation process, along with the relevant stakeholder engagement, will contribute significantly to the delivery of a Tourism Policy Statement which will provide the necessary direction to support a competitive and sustainable tourism industry and give clear direction to the tourism agencies for carrying out their operational programmes. The questions have been categorised under specific headings as follows: 1. Tourism Marketing 2. Tourism Product Development 3. Human Resources and Training / Innovation / Enterprise Support and Competitiveness 4. Implementing Policy and Service Delivery Mechanisms
What will a Tourism Policy Statement do?
A clear statement of tourism policy will set out the Ministers priorities in terms of:
the contribution tourism is to make to national economic and social goals,
how that contribution will be measured and benchmarked, and
in what manner tourism can best make its contribution
Based on these, the policy will set parameters for allocation and deployment of the resources
available to Tourism through his Department, to achieve those priorities (through the agencies or
Why is a Tourism Policy Statement being prepared now?
There are clear signs of recovery in Irish tourism in terms of overseas arrivals. The scope for State
investment in tourism will remain constrained for the foreseeable future. It is timely therefore to
make a policy statement that prioritises the investment that will maximise the return from tourism
in the long term. If Government and stakeholders are to be persuaded to take on board measures
to support tourism, the Minister and his Department have to make the case based on specific,
benchmarked and measurable policy priorities. Likewise, the capacity of the Department to
influence the impact of wider government policies on the tourism sector will be reinforced if based
on a robust policy foundation.
This approach is an innovation. The value of previous policy documents was in the identification,
with the industry, of a range of actions for the agencies, wider Government and the industry to
pursue to support tourism. This traditional approach will no longer suffice and needs more robust
When finalised by summer 2014, the Ministers policy statement will form the basis for the
Department to work with its partners in the agencies and the tourism industry, as well as
stakeholders across Government, to develop a detailed strategy and action plan, setting out a range
of specific measures to be pursued.
1. The Minister is seeking the view of interested stakeholders and consumers on the policy priorities for tourism. Following extensive consultations, he will finalise and publish a statement of policy. This will provide the basis for the preparation of a broader tourism strategy and action plan, prepared with the industry and other key stakeholders. Comments should be submitted by Friday 1st November (see page 22).
2. Tourism will remain central to the Governments economic recovery programme with the focus on growing export earnings and employment through the sector. Tourism is a key driver of social and economic development in Ireland and supports employment across the country for a range of skill levels in 2011/12 surveys, tourism and hospitality employed approximately 185,000 people and generated 5 billion in domestic and overseas spending. Recent trends in Irish tourism are summarised, noting the return to growth following decline from 2008 to 2010, the longer-term changes in source markets and domestic trends, as well as the recovery in cost competitiveness. Global Tourism trends are also noted and key performance indicators identified.
3. Policy Considerations and issues in relation to Tourism Marketing form the background to the
questions posed, which are summarised as follows:
Q1: What are the respective roles for the private and public sectors in marketing generally, and in terms of target markets or timescale?
Q2: What should be the priority markets/best prospects (geographical/segments) for Ireland?
4. Similarly, the policy issues in relation to Tourism Product Development are outlined, framing questions on, in summary:
Q3: What are Irelands main areas of comparative advantage and how can we best align these with the needs of our target tourists and markets? Is the current ratio between marketing spend and product development right?
Q4: What policy frameworks or measures are required to support the development of destinations that help to attract more tourism revenue, especially from overseas?
Q5: What should be the role of local authorities in developing tourism product development and destination marketing? Are local authorities best placed to do this or should it be local tourism organisations or partnerships?
Q6: Would smaller-scale projects and/or a shift towards enhancing visitor experience of a location have greater cumulative impact than bigger projects?
Q7: What priorities should apply when considering exchequer support for soft tourism product such as festivals and events?
Q8: How can we build on the success of the Gathering?
Q9: How can policy support local community involvement in tourism product development?
Q10: How can Government policy best support quality standards and consumer information across all tourism services, for the benefit of industry operators and consumers alike?
5. Turning to Human Resources and Training, Enterprise Support, Innovation and Competitiveness, the questions cover:
Q11: How to prioritise the competing demands of training of individuals, labour activation and enterprise supports? What implications would changes in product/market focus have?
Q12: How can the State best support the delivery of appropriate training? Are there other models?
Q13: What is the most appropriate structure so tourism can bring people back into the labour force and help them to remain active? Are there adequate opportunities for career progression?
Q14: What policy frameworks are a