Week’s events; Tourism Ireland’s marketing Plans 2016, growth at Dublin Airport, North-South relations & Christmas trees

4th December, 2015

The week began on an exceptionally positive note with the launch of Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Plans for 2016. This year (2015) we are on course for a record breaking year in terms of the number of overseas visits to Ireland. And this is something we plan to build on next year. The objective of our tourism agencies, who are supported by Government, is to welcome 8.2 million visitors to Ireland in 2016. This would represent growth of +4% on 2015 and would deliver €4.4 billion to the Irish economy. Tourism has been a key driver of our economic recovery and has been instrumental in the creation of tens of thousands of additional jobs. The further development of signature experiences such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and a strong brand identity for Dublin, coupled with our leverage what we have through the promotion of promote places like Skellig Michael, which featured in the much anticipated Star Wars Episode VII, will help us to reach the targets we have set for tourism, and indeed job creation, and help us to realise our ambitions for the sector in 2016 and beyond.


Central to our ability to bring tourists to Ireland is our air accessibility and our connectivity. I have always said that the growth in our airports is a cause of our economic recovery, not a consequence of it, as some believe. Today, Dublin Airport announced that it had already broken its annual passenger numbers record – with still almost four weeks to go until the year end. The 23.5 million passengers welcomed through the Airport so far this year breaks the airport’s previous record for passenger traffic which was set in 2008. And with 11 new scheduled services having already been announced for next year, including four new transatlantic ones, 2016 is shaping up to be a great year not just for tourism but for Dublin Airport too.


Mid-week I was before the Joint Oireachtas Committee in respect of the Supplementary Estimate I secured for my Department during the summer – the majority of which was allocated to public transport and our road network.


On Wednesday I travelled to Armagh for the North South Ministerial Tourism Council Meeting in the morning and took the Harbours Bill to Report stage in the Dail that afternoon. Later that night I attended the Clareville Centre Residents’ Christmas Dinner in Glasnevin, which is always a lift for the spirits, and on Friday morning I spoke to a Fingal Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting of around 70 people on the importance of continuing to invest in transport. Now that the economy is strengthening we can, and we will, address the historically low levels of investment we have seen in recent years –post crash so that we can ensure the maintenance of what we already have and the development of the right infrastructure to support future growth.


On Friday evening I attended the Cabra Christmas Tree lighting-up ceremony, as I always do. Hard to believe it’s a year already since the last time we assembled at the Roundabout at junction at Quarry & Faussagh Road. Throughout the week, I also called on the people living in close proximity to the Mater Hospital and in Cabra to say hello and to see how things are moving along for them.