A ROW has broken out over who will pay for attracting tourists to Ireland. A leaked government proposal for a £3 tourist tax to cover a shortfall in EU funding from next year has been heavily criticised by tourist organisations.
The Government's Overseas Marketing Initiative cost £9m last year. Industry contributed only £1.2m to that, despite requests from Bord Failte (the Irish tourist board) for hospitality to give more.
The proposed tax would be added to incoming flights or ferry tickets. But the Incoming Tour Operators Association said the tax would turn tourists away and suggested a levy on retailers instead.
Dublin Tourism wants a 0.25% levy on businesses that benefit from tourism. The latest figures show an increase of 15% on 1997, bringing the number of visitors to Dublin in one year to three million, spending IR£500m.