Ministers Donohoe & Ring host first meeting of Tourism Leadership Group

20th August, 2015

Tourism Action Plan aims to ensure strong tourism performance is maintained

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD today (Thursday) hosted  the first meeting of the new Tourism Leadership Group. The Group has been established to drive the strategic targets contained in the Government’s tourism policy document ‘People, Place & Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ which was launched earlier this year. The Group will now begin work on drawing up a detailed Tourism Action Plan with specific actions for the tourism sector for the period to 2018.

Minister Donohoe who is chairing the Group said: ‘The work of the Tourism Leadership Group will be critical in ensuring that Irish tourism continues to grow. While the Tourism Policy Statement sets out the broad policy framework for the development of Irish tourism in the period to 2025, the Leadership Group will agree the specific actions to ensure we achieve our ambitious targets. These actions will be time bound, the responsible bodies for implementing them will be clearly specified and a monitoring mechanism will be put in place to ensure there is no slippage. On coming to Office, the Government recognised that tourism could play a key part in our economic recovery and thankfully this has proven to be the case. We are determined to ensure that this sustainable growth continues and I look forward to working with the Leadership Group to ensure an even brighter future for the sector.’

The Government’s tourism policy statement “People Place & Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025” contains targets of growing overseas visitor revenue to €5 billion per year by 2025 (net of inflation), growing tourism employment from 200,000 to 250,000 and to increase overseas visits from 7.6 million in 2014 to 10 million by 2025.  The Tourism Leadership Group includes representatives from the tourism industry, the Local Authority sector, and others with particular expertise in areas, such as community tourism development, travel technology, and tourism retailing, as well as the tourism agencies and the Minister’s Department (full list shown below).

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, said:  ‘Thankfully Irish tourism has performed very strongly over the last four years and figures for the first half of 2015 suggest that we could break all previous records in terms of our overseas visitor numbers. While it would be easy to rest on our  laurels, we are determined to ensure that even more people will have a successful career in the tourism sector and that every part of the country will benefit from this tourism growth. The work of the new Tourism Leadership Group will be key in terms of identifying the actions necessary to ensure that Ireland continues to outperform our competitors and from the Government’s perspective we will offer every support to make this happen.’

The Tourism Leadership Group is being chaired by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD (or by Minister of State Ring if Minister Donohoe is unavailable).   The members of the Tourism Leadership Group are:

  • Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland
  • Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland
  • Peter Hynes, CEO Mayo County Council (representing the Local Authority sector)
  • Ruth Andrews, Chief Executive of the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA)
  • James McGinley, Director, McGinley Coaches, Co. Donegal
  • Stephen McNally, President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF)
  • John McQuillan, Co-founder of OpenJaw Technologies
  • Cormac Ó ’Donnchú, Founder of Experience Gaelic Games
  • Emma O’Brien, Solicitor, 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, CEO of Arnotts
  • Ray O’Leary, Assistant Secretary, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

The Tourism Leadership Group will hold an intensive series of meetings with key tourism stakeholders over the coming months.  A secretariat, which is being provided by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, will engage in additional meetings with a range of public and private bodies on matters of significance to tourism, and report back to the main Group.  It is expected that the Tourism Action Plan containing specific actions to be implemented in the period to 2018 will be published within the next six months.