Frank Corr writes an Open Letter to the new Minister for Tourism in the current issue of 'Hotel and Restaurant Times'
Dear Minister (whoever you may be),
You have landed the plum job in Government. You are now the Minister for Fun.
Ahead lies a life of VIP travel, staying in luxury hotels, dining on gourmet food and glad-handling tour operators and travel agents at drink-fuelled receptions.
At home, it will be even better. You will get to announce a stream of grants for tourism development projects and festivals, spread throughout every constituency in the country, including I imagine, your own.
There is no need to worry about the detail of running your Department or indeed the tourism industry. Your excellent team of public servants and the professionals at Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland have been doing that for decades and will continue to do so after you have retired to the back benches.
You do, however, have one single important task to perform every year, and it is vital to the industry that you achieve excellence in its performance. Indeed you need to do a lot better than your predecessors.
That task is to prise sufficient funding from the Minister for Finance at Budget time, to ensure that tourism can reach its full potential in terms of attracting overseas visitors, convincing Irish people to take breaks in this own country and in creating new jobs.