Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, has announced today that the government will keep the €3 travel tax because airlines had not responded by raising passenger numbers into the country.Minister Varadkar said: “I am disappointed that it was not possible to come to an agreement with the airlines. I could not agree to foregoing significant revenues in taxes without a solid commitment from the airlines on the restoration of key in-bound routes and capacity. While the airlines did welcome the initiative some of the airlines were not in a position to make commitments on increased capacity due to the uncertain economic situation. This is entirely understandable.
Minister Varadkar stressed that he remains open to discussions with the airlines and the option remains to suspend the tax next year should there be progress in these discussions. In the meantime, a significant proportion of the revenues taken in from the E3 travel tax will be used to support inbound tourism.
The Minister also announced an €8.5m initiative to boost tourism from over seas markets.
This support will see a fund of E8.5m being used for co-operative marketing with airlines, airports, ferry companies and tour operators on inbound routes into Ireland, focusing on the UK regions, the United States, Germany, France and the Benelux countries.