The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has called on the Irish government to extend the special 9% VAT rate for some tourism-related services.

The body says this would mean that international tour operators could plan their trips to Ireland with greater certainty on prices.

Speaking at the IHF's annual conference in Kilkenny, its president Paul Gallagher called on the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar to fight for the rate to be retained.

The hotels body says forward booking by tour operators, domestically and internationally, is a vital component of the hotels sector.

According to research carried out in advance of the conference, 92% of hotel and guesthouse owners are concerned that the Government might increase the VAT rate next year.

The IHF claims this uncertainty could become a barrier to securing sustained growth in visitor numbers, as international tour operators book some 18 months in advance.

The special VAT rate was brought in as part of the Government's jobs initiative last year. It was due to stay in place until the end of 2013.


Visit to Dingle's Castlewood