Written Answers. - Tourism Operational Programme.

Noel Treacy

Question:

189 Mr. N. Treacy asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the amount of money available under the Operational Programme for Tourism from 1994 to 1999; the amount of money allocated each year under each heading; the amenities/facilities which have been grant-aided and which will be grant-aided; the balance of the money remaining; the priorities, if any, he has in respect of the allocation of this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8629/96]

The Operational Programme for Tourism aims to attract investment of £652 million for Irish tourism over the period 1994 to 1999, of which £369 million will be provided by the European Union.

Expenditure is taking place under five separate sub-programmes and annual allocations from the European Regional Development Fund/ESF for each as published in the operational programme are given in table 1 of the following tabular statement. These allocations are subject to regular review, in consultation with the European Commission to take account of overall programme performance and actual progress in relation to approved projects. The current position in relation to expenditure, and commitments already entered into in relation to approved projects, under each sub-programme is set out in table 2 of the same tabular statement.

The Operational Programme for Tourism 1994-99, copies of which are available in the Dáil library, was launched in October 1994 outlining in great detail eligible amenities and facilities.

The natural cultural tourism sub-programme is administered by the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, and it is designed to make Ireland's heritage and culture more accessible and attractive to overseas visitors through offering assistance towards the development of: national-regional cultural activities; national monuments and historic properties; and natural environment.

The product development sub-programme, with the exception of the tourism angling measure, is administered by Shannon Development in its area and Bord Fáilte for the rest of the country.

The sub-programme is designed to meet the continued growth in international demand for high quality special interest amenities and facilities. Under this sub-programme assistance is available for the development of: large tourism projects; medium size regional projects; tourist information and heritage projects; tourism angling, administered by the Department of the Marine/Central Fisheries Board; special interest holiday facilities; and specialist accommodation-related developments.

The marketing sub-programme, designed to encourage the industry to take an increasing role in securing the future success of Irish tourism, to increase market share in established markets and to achieving successful entry into new markets, is administered by Bord Fáilte. Marketing grants are made available towards initiatives which: extend the tourism season; expand sea and air access; develop new markets; develop product and niche markets; and attract more high yield business.
Applications for assistance under both the product development and marketing sub-programmes are considered by independent management boards. The decisions of the product management boards for the Bord Fáilte and SFADCo areas respectively, as to grant aid for facilities and amenities are announced regularly and annual reports of each board's activities will be lodged in the Dáil Library when available.
The training sub-programme, which is administered by the Department of Education and CERT, is designed to enhance education and skills levels in the tourism and hospitality industries. Measures assisted include: programmes for the unemployed; programme of initial training, normally school leavers; and continuing training.
Table 1
Operational Programme for Tourism 1994-1999
Allocation of European Regional Development Fund/ESF Assistance by Sub-Programme (IR£Million)

Sub Programme One

Sub Programme Two

Sub Programme Three

Sub programme Four

Sub programme Five

Total

Natural/Cultural Tourism

Product Development

Marketing

Training

Technical Assistance

1994

9.839

1.526

9.502

13.304

0.202

34.37

1995

16.565

4.338

8.343

12.698

0.606

42.55

1996

20.505

24.092

8.343

13.980

0.606

67.53

1997

17.613

30.119

8.575

13.980

0.606

70.89

1998

13.673

34.643

8.343

14.260

0.606

71.53

1999

15.746

43.795

7.880

14.260

0.404

82.09

Total

93.941

138.513

50.986

82.482

3.030

368.95

Source: Operational Programme for Tourism, Department of Tourism and Trade, 1994.
Table 2
Operational Programme for Tourism 1994-1999
Financial Plan, EU funds Committed and Expenditure to date (End 1995) by Sub-Programme (£IR Million)

Total Investment (ERDF/ESF, Public and Private)

Total ERDF/ESF Allocation

Total ERDF/ESF Commitment to Date

Total Expenditure to Date (a)

Natural Cultural Tourism

125.255

93.941

47.53

16.758

Product Development

286.905

138.513

45.66

21.665

Marketing

124.481

50.986

12.51

35.945

Training

110.222

82.482

not applicable

36.496

Technical Assistance

4.804

3.030

not applicable

0.709

Total

651.670

368.950

105.70(b)

111.573

Source: Operational Programme for Tourism 1994-1999 and returns from implementing agencies to Department of Tourism and Trade.
Notes: (a) On the basis of total investment — European Regional Development Fund/ESF, public and private investment
(b) Excludes Training and Technical Assistance Sub-Programmes which do not precommit European Regional Development Fund/ESF grants.