Junior Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin has said he supports calls for a 0% VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sector to help it recover after the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes as the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) called for the rate to be introduced for the period of the pandemic and for 12 months thereafter.
Responding to calls from TDs in the Dail on Wednesday for the VAT rate to be cut, Mr Griffin said: “This is something I think is very necessary to give us a fighting chance to recover as quickly as possible and to take on the huge competition there is internationally.
“It is only when you go to places like the world travel market in London or the ITB in Berlin that you see the huge number of exhibitors that are there from all over the world.
“You realise how competitive it is for Ireland but also how well we do for tourism as we attract close to 11 million tourists per year.”
In relation to calls for a dedicated minister for tourism, he said: “I’m not Taoiseach yet so I don’t get to decide what ministries go where but I think it would be something that would be very beneficial to our industry and I would certainly think it would be a positive move.”
Mr Griffin said the hit television drama Normal People, based on the novel by Sally Rooney, has helped to showcase the country to a worldwide audience.
Some of the filming for the series took place in Tubbercurry in Co Sligo last year.
Mr Griffin said Tourism Ireland has used cinematography from the series to showcase the county to the world.
“They have been selective with the cinematography as some of it would not have been suitable for a worldwide distribution from a tourism perspective but Sligo looked fantastic on it and it looks fantastic on screen always,” he said.