The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has called on the Government to introduce bespoke business supports in order to save the travel industry.
The Association met with Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD on Tuesday to discuss the need for business supports for the industry.
The ITAA said that it made a strong case for a bespoke business support package at the meeting and told the Ministers of the “dire impact” the pandemic and travel restrictions have had on the outbound Irish travel industry.
The Association called on the Government to provide improved supports for Irish travel agents.
The ITAA has stated that while the travel industry has continued to reschedule bookings to later this year, a return to international travel in 2021 is unlikely, which will lead to further cancellations in the latter half of 2021 and early 2022.
Currently, travel agents are in receipt of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and are entitled to the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) which the ITAA feel is “inadequate” as it fails to address the unique issues faced by the Irish travel industry.
ITAA CEO Pat Dawson said that despite being recognised as the “hardest hit by the pandemic, there has been no bespoke financial assistance given to Irish travel agents”.
“Whilst we appreciate the schemes that the Government has put in place, there is no differentiation between businesses that have been able to open for intermittent periods, businesses which are down only 30 per cent (for EWSS) and 75 per cent (for CRSS), and travel agents who have been down 90 per cent consistently since March 2020 with no respite,” he said.
He said that Irish travel agents are prevented from trading as a direct result of restrictions and urgently need tailored supports to ensure they can reopen once the threat of the virus has passed.
"We are working hard on behalf of all licensed travel agents to highlight the issues faced by our industry and come to an agreement on supports for Irish travel agents.”
The delegation was headed up by Michael Doorley, President of the ITAA, with fellow ITAA Board Members Clare Dunne, Valerie Metcalffe, Paul Hackett and ITAA CEO Pat Dawson.