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Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Tourism benefits from Obama and Queen Elizabeth visits to be seen next year - Minister

Leo Varadkar said today that an increase in tourists had been projected for next year as a result of the image-boost given to Ireland by the visits.

IRELAND WILL HOPEFULLY see a boost in tourism next year as a result of the high-profile visits of US President Barack Obama and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth last summer, said the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport this morning.

Speaking on‘s Breakfast programme, Leo Varadkar said an increase in tourism had been projected for next year as a result of the image-boost given to Ireland by the official visits. However, he also warned that external economic factors had the potential to negatively impact tourism.

Varadkar expressed confidence that the reduction in VAT for tourism-related services in the country had been passed down to customers, and defended previous comments made about those working in the industry needing to be friendlier. Saying he regretted if any offence had been caused by his suggestions, he nevertheless maintained that “little things like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’” should be remembered by people working with tourists.

Varadkar also commented on transport projects marked for the coming year, saying that the Government was now pursuing a shorter and more “realistic” set of goals. He said an adequate amount of funding had been put aside for the maintenance of the roads, adding: “It will be very tight, but the roads will not go back to the way they were in the 1980s”.

Varadkar rejected the suggestion that spending had been focused on projects and maintenance around the capital, saying that there had been a provision for improvement in regional cities outside Dublin.

Listen to Varadkar on Newstalk Breakfast>

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