The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has said that Ireland pays the second-highest level of alcohol excise tax in the EU, behind only Finland.
Ireland pays the highest tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits.
The group welcomed the recently announced €15.5 million tourism fund for regional towns by Fáilte Ireland but warned that high tax rates on local drinks and hospitality businesses is counterproductive and undermines the potential to further develop tourism in regional towns.
“While we welcome today’s announcement, we need to ensure we are competitive and position Ireland as a key holiday destination among other EU countries and continue to attract tourists," Rosemary Garth, Chair of DIGI and Director of Communications at Irish Distillers said.
"We have seen this week that the numbers of tourists visiting Ireland from the UK has fallen by 2 %, which is a trend we, and the government must reverse.
Garth said that on behalf of the group that represents the drinks industry in Ireland she urges the government to "review taxation policy to ensure it is fit for purpose and supports an industry that is key to driving our tourism product across Ireland, creating new businesses and tourist attractions rurally and supporting jobs."
"However, despite this, the excise tax paid by these business and consumers is disproportionally high by EU standards," she added.
"These charges increase the price of our products for consumers and tourists. In addition, our industry are now grabbling with the enormous increase in VAT from the last Budget,” she said.
According to the DIGI report, 'The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Irish Tourism', authored by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley, the experience of an authentic Irish pub, a live trad session and a taste of real Irish beer and whiskey are top of tourists’ ‘to-do’ lists on their visit to Ireland.
While a Fáilte Ireland survey found that 80% of all overseas visitors to Ireland picked the Irish pub as the most influential factor in booking their trip here, and also said it was an attraction they most wished to visit on their holiday.
The drinks industry employs 90,000 people in Ireland and supports 250,000 jobs in the wider hospitality sector, 10% of all Irish jobs, DIGI outlined.
Through a nationwide network of pubs, hotels, restaurants, off-licences, distilleries, microbreweries, wholesalers and distributors, the drinks industry exports over €1.4 billion in goods annually and generates €2.3 billion of revenue for the Exchequer.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.