Eating out in Dublin is more expensive than London, Paris or Rome because it is a “good quality destination,” the CEO of Fáilte Ireland has said.
He was speaking after a survey ranking European cities according to the price of dining out found that a three-course meal for two in Dublin costs €80 on average.
In London, a similar meal costs €78.05, in Rome the price is €70 and in Paris it is €60.
Last summer, questions were repeatedly raised about whether Ireland was a good value destination for tourists and hotels in particular were accused of ‘price-gouging’.
Paul Kelly said there are good reasons for why Ireland charges such high prices.
“We’re not cheap as an economy and we don’t want to be cheap as an economy because in order to be cheap we can’t pay our people very well,” he told Breakfast Business with Joe Lynam.
“Relatively speaking, Ireland does pay tourism and hospitality workers very well and we have lots of other high costs.
“So, we’re not cheap but we are value because value is about quality.”
Asked why a meal in Dublin is more expensive than in Paris or Rome, Mr Kelly said people who visit Ireland usually leave satisfied with their experience.
“You can find individual dates and things like that where things are different,” he said.
“Overall, what our research is saying to us is that we have moved up to being the same type of pricing as the likes of Paris and London - those tier-one cities.
“But we’re still seen as a good quality destination.
“People won’t come here if the quality doesn’t match the price.”
Last year, then Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe warned that the high prices charged by some businesses had “undermined the competitiveness of our country”.
Mr Kelly said Ireland shares this concern.
“We are saying very clearly to everyone in the industry to be very careful of that long-term reputation,” he said.
“To not let your short-term opportunism damage our long-term collective prosperity by having our value for money reputation damaged.
“We’re saying that loudly and clearly to industry.”
At the end of the summer, the VAT rate for hospitality will rise from 9% to 13.5%, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has promised.
Main image: Diners eating lunch in a restaurant in Dublin. Picture by: Alamy.com