Fianna Fáil Dublin TD, John Curran has said that the almost 7% drop in number of British travellers visiting Ireland in the first half of this year is as a direct consequence of Brexit and Minister Ross must respond with a measured strategy.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed earlier this month that the number of UK residents travelling to Ireland dropped by 6.4% to 949,200 during the three months from April to June this year.

In a recent Parliamentary Question to the Deputy, Minister Shane Ross confirmed that a series of actions are being considered to respond to the decline, including specific initiatives to promote the border counties top potential UK visitors.

Commenting on the information Deputy Curran said, “It is certainly no secret that the depreciation in sterling since the Brexit vote has had negative implications for Ireland’s tourism sector. With the sterling unlikely to dramatically rise in the foreseeable future, Minister Ross and his Department must set itself to be best placed to diversify its tourism market.

“In its latest pricing survey, international online booking site Hotel Reservation Services said the cost of a night in a hotel in Dublin has increased by over 9%. We cannot expect British tourists to choose Ireland when they can find accommodation elsewhere that is cheaper and much better value for an even longer stay.

He added, “Remaining cost competitive is essential to mitigate any impact of any decline in visitor numbers from Britain. These visitors form the core of our tourism sector in Ireland.

“We need a new overarching tourism policy, to reassure the industry that there is a strategy in place for the consequences of Brexit. Retention of the 9% VAT rate is absolutely crucial to overcome any difficulties that may arise as we move further towards the reality of Brexit,” concluded Deputy Curran.