Nine is just fine, hoteliers insist

Keep the nine per cent VAT rate: Niamh O’Shea, Chairperson, Kerry Branch IHF, Ciara Treacy, General Manager, Ross Hotel and staff members from the Ross and Park Hotels, from left, Katarzyna Rudnik, Denise Murphy, Laura Fitzgerald, Caoimhe O’Connor, Anna Barnas, Laura Stanisauskaite, Katarina Herman-Nikocic, Marcus Treacy, Edward Dela Torre, Adam Kania, Jovana Radic, Ava O’Donoghue, Moshiul Alam, Cian Browne, Liam Curtin, Ciaran Doolan and Marius Dailyoe.
Picture: Don MacMonagle

HOTELS and guesthouses in Killarney and across Kerry are backing a call by the Irish Hotels Federation for the government to retain the tourism VAT rate at nine perc cent, insisting it is essential to help further job creation and tourism growth.

Tourism supports close on 15,700 jobs throughout the county and contributes €533 million each year to the local economy, making an enormous contribution to Kerry.

Hoteliers, who have already pressed their case at a meeting with Minister of State for Tourism and Kerry TD, Brendan Griffin, have warned that while the industry has made great strides in recovery in recent years, the growth cannot be taken for granted.

The Department of Finance has calculated that the special nine per cent VAT has cost €2.6 billion since its introduction in 2011, including €490 million in tax foregone last year.

In a review of the rate, which has been published on the department’s website, officials questioned whether the rate is still relevant given the booming state of the tourism sector, which is at record highs.

The rate was originally cut from 13.5 per cent in 2011 as a temporary stimulus for the sector at the height of the recession. It has been retained by successive governments under intense lobbying from the tourism industry, which argues that the nine per cent rate is closer to the international average.

The IHF says it is one of the key components to the recovery in tourism in recent years and continues to support jobs in the sector and encourage reinvestment.

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