The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, the representative body for hotels, restaurants, pubs and drink suppliers addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism today. They urged the committee to give serious thought to ways in which Government policy could support the sector.
The group asked for adequate representation of the drinks and hospitality sector by tourism state agencies; the enhanced promotion of the role of the pub in Ireland's tourist offer; as well as the establishment of a taskforce on the future of the Irish pub.
They also asked for government support to enhance competitiveness in the tourism offer through the reversal of excise on alcohol in Budget 2016, and the retention of the 9% VAT rate.
Donall O'Keefe, CEO of the Licenced Vintners Association and Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation Ireland represented the group. They highlighted that the Irish Pub is the top reason why tourists come to Ireland, according to Failte Ireland research. They spoke about the success of attractions like the Guinness Storehouse and the Cork Whiskey Way.
They also discussed the link between the pub industry and small businesses such as, craft food producers and microbreweries.
Donall O'Keeffe said, "There are great potential synergies between the drinks and tourism sectors that should be supported. Ireland is home to world-class pubs that are distinctively Irish, warmly received by tourists and play a hugely positive role in differentiating Ireland as a destination."
Padraig Cribben added, "Rural pubs are one of the few ways we can drive tourists outside of urban centres to get a true full-Irish experience. There are over 8,000 pubs, hotels and restaurants across the country offering tourists good food, good music and most importantly the opportunity to meet Irish people and experience the welcome and warmth for which the Irish are famous."
The Group welcomed the Government's decision not to increase excise in Budget 2015, stating that it will provide some stability for the sector.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.