4 Jan 2012

Changes to tourism body at odds with independent report

The recent announcement by Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar that Fáilte Ireland is taking over the promotion of tourism in Dublin runs counter to one of the principal recommendations of an independent report, one of its authors has said.

The report, commissioned by Dublin City Business Association, recommends that Ireland follow the example of other countries by vesting responsibility for tourism with the local tourism sector and the wider community.

But Mr Varadkar has disbanded the board of Dublin Tourism and its staff are moving to Fáilte Ireland, which he said “has considerable experience and expertise in the promotion of Dublin as a tourism destination”.

Felim O’Rourke, lecturer in economics at Sligo Institute of Technology and co-author of the report, said: “We have a centralised State tourism structure that is dominated by insiders, protects the interests of insiders and fails to meet the needs of the tourism industry.

The report, Rejuvenating Dublin’s Tourism Product, says one of the main advantages of vesting tourism promotion with the local tourism sector and community was that such locally based companies were able to attract “enormous volunteer support”.

Mr O’Rourke cited a report by the World Tourism Organisation which found that Ireland spent much more on international marketing per visitor than any other European country and “there appears to be very little correlation” between this spend and international arrivals.

In other words, most advertising and marketing by national tourism organisations is a waste of money – and Ireland wastes more than any other country in Europe,” he said, adding that Ireland’s share of world tourism had “fallen sharply” over the past decade.

Original article: IrishTimes