Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (68, 69)

Tom Hayes

Question:

163 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of actions proposed in the report, New Horizons for Irish Tourism, which have now been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25548/04]

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Joe Costello

Question:

172 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the way in which he will respond to the call recently from the national tourism strategy group for fast turn-around facilities at Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25435/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 172 together.

In January 2004, I established the tourism action plan implementation group whose fundamental task is to monitor the implementation of the recommendations within the report of the tourism policy review group, New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for Action, to assess progress and to report on how any constraints that are found to be impeding progress might be addressed.

The tourism action plan implementation group presented its first progress report to me at the end of August. It is available on my Department's website www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie and a copy has been placed in the Oireachtas Library.

The group found that overall the initial progress in the implementation process has been good with strong commitment and support from the tourism industry and the Government to the strategy and recommendations of the review group. It reported that the areas where progress is most advanced lie in those relating to administrative and co-ordinating activities, as the key actors gear up to implement the new strategy, and that the areas where progress is least advanced lie in the more specific areas of what can be termed the "real economy".

There is a detailed schedule appended to the report setting out progress achieved up to mid-2004 for each of the 70 recommendations in the New Horizons document. The implementation group will continue its work over the remainder of the period of the initial action plan. It will continue to meet at monthly intervals and to encourage, through regular consultations, the relevant Departments, State agencies and industry representative groups to progress the implementation of the recommended actions in the report of the review group.

As the Deputy is aware, ministerial responsibility for aviation matters rests with my colleague, the Minister for Transport who, I understand, has asked the new Dublin Airport Authority, which took office on 1 October 2004, to give priority to addressing capacity requirements at Dublin Airport including providing additional facilities for the fast turnaround of aircraft. In the context of my commitment to ensure the better integration of national tourism policy with other Government policies, including transport, I will continue to liaise with my colleague, the Minister for Transport on this issue and my Department's officials will participate fully in inter-departmental-agency fora to drive forward the tourism agenda as recommended in the New Horizons report. The tourism action plan implementation group will continue to monitor capital investment developments at Dublin Airport and will report on progress again in due course.

Question No. 164 answered with QuestionNo. 156.