The STA Board met with the organisation’s Irish counterparts, the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) this week to gain further insights into ITIC as an organisation and how it has successfully influenced policy making to grow a stronger, more competitive tourism sector.
ITIC is the representative body of the Irish tourist industry and works with Government Agencies, Tourist Boards, North and South, Tourism Ireland Limited, the EU, and other organisations whose activities impact on tourism.
In particular, ITIC’s focus is on research, casemaking and influencing policies, which shape the future of Ireland’s tourist industry. The organisation was instrumental in the campaign to lower the rate of tourism VAT from 13.5% to 9% in 2011 has continued to represent many of the key issues which affect Ireland’s tourism industry, allowing the country to become more competitive on the global stage. The 9% rate was retained in this year’s budget and ITIC has recently published their ‘9 reasons why 9% matters’.
According to the CSO (Central Statistics Office), the lowering of VAT has helped the tourism sector create 45,260 jobs nationwide as a result of the increase in international visitors to Ireland.
The STA Board learned more on how ITIC views the Brexit opportunities and challenges and how the organisation has partnered key organisations and government to strengthen the tourism sector in Ireland.
The STA shared their experience of the organisation’s leadership role in the development, guardianship and co-ordination of Scotland’s national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, their experience of retaining and growing the organisation’s membership base and their approach to representation of the Scottish tourism industry.
The learnings from the exchange trip will be shared with Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External affairs in the coming weeks.
Stephen Leckie, Chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said; “Scotland and Ireland’s tourism industries have experienced, and continue to face similar challenges. Our trip to Dublin has given the Board a unique opportunity to view these challenges from a different perspective and look at new and different approaches to bringing about supportive change at policy level to enable our industry to become more competitive. ITIC has demonstrated notable success in driving sustainable growth within the Irish tourism sector through its strategic approach to influencing government policies and investment strategies and our Board has taken away a number of learnings which the STA will feed into its activity over the coming months.”
Paul Gallagher, Chair of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation said; “ITIC has enjoyed a close working relationship with the STA over the past few years and we were delighted to welcome the Board and gain such a thorough insight into how the organisation has grown its reach, strengthened its position as the voice of tourism in Scotland and elevated its status to now becoming the first port of call for government when consulting on the issues that affect Scotland’s tourism industry. We have enjoyed learning from some of Scotland’s leading business figures within the STA Board and we very much hope to make the learning exchange a bi-annual event.”