I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.
Events such as conferences, business events and sports events, are important elements of our tourism product offering and the tourism agencies are continuously working to promote Ireland as a destination for conferences and events.
Fáilte Ireland's Business Tourism Unit, operating under the brand name "Meet in Ireland", promotes Ireland as a leading conference and business destination. The team works collaboratively with key stakeholders to secure high profile business tourism events for Ireland.
The hosting of major sports events, both participative and spectator sports, can provide great opportunities to showcase Ireland and drive international visitor numbers. In addition, the media coverage of sports events helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination.
Accordingly, I am very supportive of the ongoing efforts of the tourism agencies and the national governing bodies of sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs and benefits involved in any State financial support, in particular the number of overseas visitors.
Fáilte Ireland provides financial assistance, subject to eligibility criteria, to applicants who are proposing to bid to host international sporting, cultural and other events in Ireland which would attract significant numbers of international visitors. When an event with international tourism appeal is confirmed for Ireland, Tourism Ireland would then promote it in relevant markets overseas.
Ongoing investment in tourism development will be important over the term of the National Development Plan. I understand that the National Development Plan is due to be published on Friday next, 16 February.