Written Answers. - Tourism Industry.

Dick Spring

Question:

850 Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if the Government has considered the future role of regional airports in the context of the future tourism industry growth; and the plans, if any, he has in this regard. [1330/99]

My colleague, the Minister for Public Enterprise, has overall responsibility for air transport policy, including the development of more competitive, regular and good access links to our main markets with particular emphasis on exploiting opportunities for expanding access to the regions generally.

I understand that she has been pursuing a programme to assist the six regional airports to upgrade their infrastructure and marketing capabilities, which will, amongst other things, enhance their contributions, not only to increasing tourism to their regions, but also, from a national perspective, to achieving wider regional and seasonal spread of tourism.

I am advised that the Minister, Deputy O'Rourke, will be making a total of £3.144 million available this year by way of Exchequer funding assistance towards the cost of developments at four regional airports. This is in addition to £1.856 million which she made available last year for development at regional airports.

Furthermore, another £700,000 will be available this year from her Department to assist the six regional airports with the marketing and promotion of services into their respective airports.