Taxes and Tourists

23rd January, 2010

I had a break abroad after Christmas so I might be particularly aware of tourist matters at the moment. This might explain why the announcement by Ryanair of a reduction in passenger traffic at Dublin Airport caught my eye. In their statement they said that there would be a reduction of 2.2 million Ryanair passengers in the coming year at Dublin airport. They attribute a lot of this to the passenger tax of 10 euro.

At our recent FG Parliamentary Party meeting I was struck by the large number of colleagues who spoke of a reduction in our connectivity with other countries. So, all of this makes me look at the Ryanair figures in a new light. 2.2 million!!! Let’s assume that each of these passengers would spend 100 euro in a stay in Ireland or domestic travel. That’s a loss of 220 million euro of revenue from our country. That’s 4 times the annual revenue of the 10 euro travel tax.

These are all blindingly obvious points but I just finished reading Jim Power’s new book. He makes the obvious point that tourism should be a key component of any strategic plan for our country’s future. Based on these figures I’m not sure that it is.

I plan to follow up on this in the Seanad.