The government aims to have a vibrant tourism sector that:
The government's overall goals in relation to tourism are that:
How the government aims to achieve these goals is expanded on in the policy framework People, Place and Policy - Growing Tourism to 2025.
Tourism is one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors. In 2013, tourism was responsible for overseas earnings of €3.3 billion (excluding carrier receipts – airfares and ferry costs).
The government seeks to increase people's desire to visit Ireland, and focuses on a mix of short, medium and longer term markets. Due to the small size of the domestic market, the tourism sector's best prospects for growth are in attracting foreign visitors. The positive images of Ireland that are highlighted in tourism marketing support the government's activities in other areas of economic development.
It also seeks to maintain and enhance the visitor experience, including protecting assets for the future and adapting to changing visitor needs.
The tourism sector is an essential component of Ireland’s employment base. It supports 140,000 jobs in the accommodation and food sector alone. It is estimated that tourism supports in the region of 200,000 jobs overall. In addition, many third-level students are employed on a part-time or seasonal basis in the tourism industry. The income earned from this employment assists in meeting their living expenses and costs associated with third-level education.
The interaction between overseas visitors and those employed in our tourism sector is highly important. It creates a positive link between the qualities of Ireland as a place and the qualities of the Irish people. It is essential that the level of service provided to visitors is of the highest possible standard.
The government aims to strengthen the capacity of people working in the tourism sector, so the highest quality experience can be delivered to visitors. This also lets Ireland compete effectively for business in the international tourism marketplace.
Tourism enterprises are covered by many of the same statutory obligations as all other enterprises. However, there are areas of legislation which are particularly focused on the tourism industry.
This body of legislation prescribes the use of 29 tourist accommodation descriptors, and assigns responsibility to Fáilte Ireland to put supporting regulation in place, and to maintain annual statutory registers of premises which use those descriptors.
Entities that are required to register include:
Irish tourism can be supported through diplomatic activity and official visits.
The mix of highly attractive tourism destinations, high tolerance and stable political climate give Ireland an unparalleled advantage in the world tourism market.
In such markets where familiarity with Ireland is poor, promoting tourism often forms part of a wider effort to raise the profile of Ireland. A coordinated approach is crucial, with local market teams, chaired by the Ambassador, playing an important role in promoting tourism objectives in particular markets.