Fall in visitors and rise in insurance is hurting

Concern has been expressed that despite its many attractions, tourism in Kerry is suffering

A KERRY TD has expressed concern that the tourism industry in the county is struggling and government intervention is needed to maintain employment and help the trade to prosper.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said the information he is hearing on the ground is that visitor numbers have dropped and business is down and urgent action is required to reverse the situation.

“I would go so far as to say that tourism operators are struggling at present,” he remarked.

Michael Healy-Rae: VAT should be cut

Deputy Healy-Rae said when the government increased the VAT rate on the hospitality sector from nine per cent to 13.5 per cent on January 1, a promise was made that the situation would be reviewed at a future date.

“I am urgently calling on the government to keep its commitment to review the VAT rate and to reduce it to help these people involved in the tourism sector who give so much employment in Kerry and beyond,” he said.

“It is of the utmost importance to every county in Ireland,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation is calling for action by the government to address the spiralling cost of insurance.

New research amongst members shows that 62 per cent have seen further hikes in insurance over the last 12 months and the average increase in premiums was 28 per cent year on year.

“These increases are unsustainable. Exorbitant insurance costs are curtailing the ability of hotels and guesthouses to re-invest in their businesses with knock-on effects for the tourism industry,” a spokesperson said.

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