Reduction in food VAT rate essential to combat declining tourism figures

Drop in tourist numbers deep concern for Restaurants Association of Ireland

The Restaurants Association of Ireland are calling on the government to reduce the food VAT rate after recent figures released by the CSO show a worrying decrease in tourism figures for 2019.

The figures cover the period between July to September 2019 and show that compared to the same period in 2018, nights spent in Ireland by overseas travellers decreased by 4.5%. This is traditionally the peak tourist season for Ireland

Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland

“The Restaurants Association of Ireland are angry at the government’s complete lack of action to support the tourism industry in Ireland. The latest CSO figures are extremely worrying for restaurant and food businesses who rely hugely on the tourism trade to keep afloat. The higher food VAT rate makes Ireland more expensive and less appealing for visitors.

An immediate reduction in the food VAT rate is essential to combat these declining tourism figures. We ask that the 40 million promised to the industry in Budget 2020 by Minister for Finance Paschal Donoghue be allocated immediately to combat these decreasing figures. Businesses will continue to face closure if costs aren’t cut and tourism will continue to suffer.”

Other concerning results from the CSO figures show that the average duration of overseas trips to Ireland decreased from 7.4 nights during the period in 2018 to 7.0 nights in 2019. 

There were however some positives from the CSO figures, with the number of business trips to Ireland increasing during the same period from 333 to 350.

To view the CSO figures click here