TOURISM COALITION CALL FOR TAOISEACH TO PREVENT “SERIOUS HARM” BEING INFLICTED ON RURAL TOURISM AND WILD ATLANTIC WAY

Press Release

***Embargoed to Tuesday June 11, 9am***

TOURISM COALITION CALL FOR TAOISEACH TO PREVENT “SERIOUS HARM” BEING INFLICTED ON RURAL TOURISM AND WILD ATLANTIC WAY

A coalition of tourism industry chiefs – including the Irish Self-Catering Federation, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, and Ireland’s Association of Adventure Tourism – has today written to Taoiseach Simon Harris urging him to work with them to “stop unintended and serious harm being inflicted on Ireland’s rural tourism economy.”

The letter (attached) is to be delivered ahead of Tuesday morning’s (June 11) Cabinet meeting, who are due to discuss soon the new General Scheme for the Registration of Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill which provides for the registration of self-catering homes and short-term holiday lettings across the country.

Tourism leaders welcome the register, but warn that it is being introduced “without clearly stating who can and cannot be on it” which “risks causing untold damage to rural Ireland by closing down self-catering homes and short-term holiday lets in rural communities and tourism towns across the country.”

The Government has previously said that it estimates the register will move 10,700 self-catering and short-term holiday letting properties to the long term rental market, with the majority in rural Ireland. Counties along the Wild Atlantic Way, including Kerry, Galway and Cork will be most impacted by the loss of tourism accommodation.

Figures from Fáilte Ireland (attached) show that Kerry will lose 1,858 short-term tourism accommodation units, Galway 1,459 and Cork 1,313. In total, counties along the Wild Atlantic Way will lose over 6,500 properties, more than 60% of the total targeted by Government.

Maire ni Mhurchu, CEO of the Irish Self Catering Federation said, “Members throughout regional Ireland are worried that they will be unable to secure a place on the new register and therefore will be prevented from trading after years in business”.

Self-catering properties and short-term holiday lets have played a crucial part of Ireland’s tourism offering for decades. Tourism leaders have asked for a meeting with the Taoiseach as the issue affects 3 Departments of Government – Housing, Tourism and Rural Development – to

discuss solutions including a derogation on new planning requirements for existing properties in regional Ireland.

Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC, said: “It is vital that holiday homes and short-term tourism rentals are protected in regional Ireland. They form a key part of the industry and bring economic activity to all parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, often where there are no hotels or guesthouses”.

Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said “If tourism towns are going to lose their short term rentals and holiday homes then this will have a big knock-on impact on downstream businesses from cafes to restaurants, pubs to attractions”.

ENDS

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES

Maire ni Mhurchu Chief Executive of the Irish Self-Catering Federation is available for interviews

Notes:

The letter has been signed by a range of tourism organisations with members in rural areas including:

● The Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF)

● The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI)

● Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC)

● The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI)

● Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT)