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Rip-off Ireland tag is very damaging to Ireland's tourism potential

5 May, 2004

Sinn Féin EU candidate for the North West constituency, Pearse Doherty has said that the 'rip-off' Ireland tag, highlighted by a survey in today's papers, is extremely damaging to our tourism potential. He was responding to a survey, which named the 26 counties as the second most expensive tourist destination in the world. The worldwide survey named Norway as the only country to be more expensive.

Speaking today, Mr Doherty said:

"Irish citizens and tourists alike are well aware of the rip-off culture that exists and this situation has been made worse in recent years as a result of a whole host of stealth taxes introduced by this government. However, this survey places the extent of the problem in context. It is shameful that the 26 counties is the second most expensive tourist destination in the world.

"Tourism is extremely important for the economic regeneration and prosperity of the West and North West but we have yet to see its full potential realised and it won't happen if we have this type of reputation. We need to ensure that we have a quality product, that the infrastructure is in place and that we are not pricing ourselves out of the market.We also need to ensure that this happens on an all Ireland basis.

This is particularly important where food and accommodation prices are far higher than prices paid to farmers, and the wages paid to hotel and catering workers.

"No sector has the potential to develop and enhance the economy on an All Ireland basis more than tourism. This is especially true for this region. Despite the formation of Tourism Ireland as a result of the Good Friday Agreement, All Ireland tourism remains underdeveloped.

"We need to shake the embarrassing rip-off Ireland tag and have a tourist industry which tourists and locals alike can be proud of, and take ownership of."ENDS

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