Donohoe and Ring launch Tourism Action Plan

28th January, 2016

Tourism Leadership Group highlights 23 key actions for 2016-2018


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD today (Thursday 28th January) launched a Tourism Action Plan for the period 2016-2018.  The Plan contains 23 Actions which will be carried out in order to help achieve the overall policy objectives in the Government’s Tourism Policy Statement “People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025”. The Action Plan was prepared by the Tourism Leadership Group, appointed by Minister Donohoe in July 2015 with representatives from a broad range of tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector.


Commenting on the Tourism Action Plan, Minister Donohoe said: ‘Our Tourism Policy Statement “People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025” published in 2015, sets out three headline targets, to be achieved by 2025; overseas tourism revenue of €5 billion per year excluding air fares or ferry charges; 250,000 people employed in tourism compared to 205,000 at present, underpinned by ten million overseas visits to Ireland per year.  The Tourism Action Plan sets out 23 key actions required in order to secure continued growth in overseas tourism revenue and employment, and provide the foundation for achievement of the 2025 targets’.


Among the issues covered in the Tourism Action Plan are:

  • a restoration of overseas tourism marketing funds to pre-recession levels, and a commitment to improving the presentation of and access to State owned heritage and cultural attractions;
  • the extension to 2018 of a fund to encourage direct air and sea access to airports and ferry ports in the regions;
  • the preparation of a list of possible themes for a focused tourism marketing initiative (including a possibility of a successor to The Gathering) for decision by Government;
  • Fáilte Ireland to publish an analysis of hotel capacity issues in Dublin with recommendations on how to address any shortfalls;
  • A commitment to support the IRFU’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023; and
  • Enhanced collaboration between Fáilte Ireland and Bord Bia on the development of food-related experiences for tourists.


Minister Donohoe added: ‘Figures published yesterday confirmed that 2015 was a record year for Irish tourism. We are not content to sit back on our laurels however, and are determined that the tourism sector will continue to play a key part in our economic recovery. Amongst the measures in the Action Plan is a commitment to bringing our overseas marketing spend back up to pre-recession levels to ensure continued growth in overseas visits to Ireland.  Furthermore, in order to adapt to a changing global market, a new targeted strategy to increase visitor numbers and revenue from new and developing markets will be developed.  The strategy will focus not only on marketing but also on the training and up-skilling that is required for the tourism industry here to meet the needs of visitors from these markets.  There will also be enhanced co-operation with key bodies in the heritage sector, like the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the OPW, and others to ensure that Ireland’s heritage sites are presented to overseas visitors in the best way possible.  We will also examine the funding arrangements for festivals and events to ensure the highest possible impact in terms of attracting overseas visitors’.


“I wish to sincerely thank the members of the Tourism Leadership Group, who generously gave  their time and expertise to inform and guide this Action Plan.  I believe that the Plan provides a foundation that will ensure a prosperous and sustainable tourism sector over the period to 2025.”

The full Action Plan can be downloaded here:-

Speaking at the launch of the Plan, Minister of State, Michael Ring, stated: ‘This is a very important day for Irish tourism. Our recent strong performance shows the measures introduced by this Government like the reduced VAT rate for tourism services and the reduction of the air travel tax to zero have worked.  We are determined that this growth will continue and the Action Plan we are launching today will play a key part in this regard. A Plan is only meaningful if followed through and I would urge all of the tourism stakeholders to play their part in ensuring that the actions are fully implemented. I would also like to pay tribute to the members of the Tourism Leadership Group for their excellent work and know that they will continue to play an active role in the implementation process’.


Note for Editors:

Tourism Policy Statement

The Government’s Tourism Policy Statement – “People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025” was launched by the Taoiseach and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in March 2015.  It contains three headline targets, to be achieved by 2025:

  • revenue from overseas tourism, excluding carrier receipts (air fares and ferry charges) will be €5 billion per year (at 2014 prices i.e. adjusted for inflation between 2014 and 2025). The comparable figure for 2014 is €3.5 billion.
  • employment in tourism will reach 250,000 (approximately 205,000 at present).
  • There will be ten million overseas visits to Ireland annually by 2025 (compared to 7.6 million in 2014).


Tourism Leadership Group

In July 2015, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport appointed a Tourism Leadership Group to put in place a Tourism Action Plan that will set out the actions required in the period to 2018 to achieve the overall policy objectives.  This Group is drawn from a cross-section of representative bodies in the tourism sector, as well as from the tourism agencies, the Local Authority sector, regional and community tourism, retail, and tourism technology sectors (see membership list below).


Members of the Tourism Leadership Group

Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland

Peter Hynes, Chief Executive, Mayo County Council (representing the Local Authority sector)

Ruth Andrews, Chief Executive of the Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA)

James McGinley, Director, McGinley Coaches, Co. Donegal

Stephen McNally, President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF)

John McQuillan, Technology entrepreneur

Cormac Ó Donnchú, Founder of Experience Gaelic Games

Emma O’Brien, Solicitor, Collins Brooks and Associates, Director of Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Cork Airport Development Council

Deirdre McGlone, Proprietor, Harvey’s Point Hotel, Lough Eske, Donegal

Ray Hernan, former CEO of Arnotts

Ken Spratt, Assistant Secretary, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport