Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tourist Bookings.


asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism the present level of tourist bookings compared with the level at this date in 1979, 1978 and 1977 and the likely prospects for Irish tourism in 1980.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the term tourist bookings involves a wide number of providers of facilities and services such as carriers, tour operators, hotels, guesthouses, and so forth. Statistics in respect of this variety of activities in the periods in question are not readily available.

While it is too early to begin to gauge and interpret trends for 1980, preliminary indications would suggest that traffic from the Continent will be up on last year while British traffic will be about the same as last year. The US market is more uncertain for a number of reasons including the overall political situation, currency variations and the recent introduction of credit restrictions in the US. The expectation is that US travel to Europe generally may be down somewhat this year as a result and this would affect the level of Irish business.

Bord Fáilte are satisfied that the industry is capable of registering positive results this year but it will require the full commitment of the entire industry. Bord Fáilte are monitoring the situation in consultation with the carriers and individual sectors of the industry and are adjusting their marketing tactics to the developing situation in the different markets.

While I appreciate that it is difficult to have figures, would the Minister have any information as to the type of revenue from tourism over the period mentioned in the question?

That is a separate question.

Do Bord Fáilte have any specific plans to encourage tourism this year?

As regards the revenue accruing, I will give the Deputy that information later. We are in a very awkward situation worldwide. There are rumours of war and what one thinks may happen one month may not measure up in another month. Bord Fáilte were never trying to promote Ireland harder. Competition is very keen. With currency fluctuations it is very difficult. We are looking for a positive result but I would not like to be more definite on account of the present world situation.

While I accept that the Minister has no control over the internal expenditure of Bord Fáilte is there any reduction money-wise this year in their promotional efforts abroad in relation to 1979?

No, not abroad. The emphasis is very much on promotion.

The Minister said there was no reduction and he must have some figures to relate to 1979.

It is a separate question but there was never more money spent on promotion abroad than there is this year.

There is a substantial increase?

That is correct.