Kerry Vintners’ Chair says we over rely on US
KERRY Vintners’ Association Chairperson Ger Counihan has said that Irish tourism is overly dependent on visitors from the UK, adding that any decline in Irish tourism would hit rural areas like Kerry hardest.
His comments come in the wake of a New Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) report that said a drop in UK tourism could cost the Irish economy almost €70million this year. DIGI called for a “Brexit Budget” that would see a reduction in Ireland’s alcohol excise tax, saying a strong interdependence between Ireland’s drinks and tourism industries exists.
“While it is very encouraging to learn that overseas visitors are excited to enjoy Ireland’s drinks industry businesses, our tourism sector remains overly reliant on the UK, a market that is set for years of economic uncertainty… Any decline in tourism numbers will impact rural Ireland, including Kerry the most,” Mr Counihan said.
“In some parts of the country, the tourism sector is the major and, in some cases, only employer. This could lead to job losses and business closures.”
The report said “the impact of Brexit and high alcohol excise tax will hamper drinks industry growth, and with it, the tourism sector.” It went on to outline that tourism is worth over €460million to Kerry alone, describing the sector as critically important to towns like Dingle and Killarney. There are 435 pubs, 138 licenced restaurants, 50 hotels, 131 off-licences, 20 wholesalers and 5 producers in Kerry.
“The drinks industry is inextricably wound up in Ireland’s tourism product,” Mr Counihan said.
“With the pub the tourist’s top draw, it makes sense that the Government properly safeguard this essential network of businesses by easing their tax burden, allowing them to become more price competitive and increase their earning potential.
“Without any change to this country’s high, even punitive, alcohol excise tax, a continued drop in sterling will further undercut Ireland’s tourism competitiveness. Fewer British tourists will patronise the drinks businesses that are so important to the tourism sector.”
Kerry Vintners Chairperson Ger Counihan