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'Senseless': Fáilte Ireland's decision to shut down its Dublin Airport tourist office criticised

Fáilte Ireland is shutting down its T2 office in June, after closing its T1 tourist office last year.

Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo

FÁILTE IRELAND IS shutting down its last remaining tourist office at Dublin Airport, citing a lack of demand, but this decision has been described as a sign that Ireland is getting carried away with its recent success in tourism.

Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien said Fáilte Ireland’s plans were “senseless”.

O’Brien said that “closing the only information office for tourists to approach at our country’s largest airport makes little sense when if anything, we should be increasing our efforts to attract and accommodate more tourists.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Fáilte Ireland confirmed that it would no longer offer tourist information services at the airport.

Instead, it said it would redeploy staff from its tourist information facility at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport to provide additional services in the city centre.

They remain under contract to operate the airport service until June of this year, but said that the “nature of the activity” in the airport was “low-level” and that the tourists can avail of greater assistance in their city centre offices.

Gary Breen, head of visitor services with Fáilte Ireland, said:

As this is where we can have the greatest effect on visitor decision-making, this redeployment of staff to provide an enhanced service in the city centre will allow for a greater impact when influencing where tourists go and certainly assist us as we ensure our guests fully maximise their enjoyment of an Irish holiday.

O’Brien said that he had taken up the matter directly with Fáilte Ireland to try to change their mind on the matter.

He said that “while the tourism experience offered in Ireland is unrivalled, we cannot afford to neglect the overall quality of the tourism offering in the country”.

Last year was the best ever year for Irish tourism, with 9.5 million people visiting the country in 2016.

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It was also a good year for Dublin Airport, with passenger numbers increasing 11% to 27.9 million people.

Commenting on these strong tourism figures, Fáilte Ireland’s director of business development Paul Keeley said: “While 2016 delivered an impressive performance, we need to remember that, as a small open tourism economy, we are at the mercy of external events.

“We need to maintain our competitiveness, develop further our current stable of branded visitor experiences and ensure that we target those overseas markets which offer the most reliable returns in the near future.”

Read: Star Wars, Game of Thrones and exchange rates helped Irish tourism have a record year

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Sean Murray

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