In the latest twist to the Ireland air travel tax question, the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Irish Government have decided that the €3 air travel tax will remain in place for the present, and shall be reviewed again in Spring 2012.
As part of the new Government tourism plan launched last May, the Government had stated that the tax would be suspended if a deal could be initiated with the airlines on reinstating routes that had been cancelled or with the air carriers’ opening of new routes. The aim was to increase the numbers of people holidaying in Ireland.
The Department has said that it has not gotten a solid commitment from the airlines, and while there are two stories to every quarrel it is easy to see the reasoning behind the goverment’s decision. Mr Varadkar’s remit was to raise the number of tourists visiting Ireland, and not increase the number of Irish people holidaying abroad.
The Minister is open to discussion with the airlines and the hope is that there will be more routes coming into the regional airports from Dublin and other European cities so as to facilitate easy access to Ireland. He is hopeful that a deal can be reached, and stated that the money raised from the tax in 2011 will substantially be invested to improve inbound tourism.
As a result of this, there will a fund of over €8m used to facilitate marketing between the Irish Government, airlines, airports, ferry services and tour operators to improve inbound routes into Ireland.
The Minister also felt that the airlines perhaps could not commit to the creation of new routes due to the poor economic situation. However, as such he could not forego the necessary tax revenue from the travel charges, which is a valuable return.
What do you think of the Travel Tax? Do you think it is fair and will it encourage Irish people to staycation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below. Thank you!