Tourism businesses require '€1.5bn to get out of the Covid-19 hole'

29/06/2010 Key tourism officials gathered at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction, to welcome the reopening of Dublin’s cultural, tourism and visitor attractions. Pictured are (L-R) Dr Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director of EPIC, Liz Halpin, Head of Dublin Region, Failte Ireland, Aileesh Carew from EPIC and Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Tourism needs €1.5bn in grants and liquidity supports from the new Government’s stimulus package next month if many firms are to survive the summer and the winter with no money, a pan-industry business group has warned.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, or ITIC, whose members are drawn from private and State-owned companies and organisations north and south, launched its wish list for a rescue package because of what it says is the serious threat facing thousands of tourism firms and hundreds and thousands of jobs.

It also warned that the quarantine on British visitors was “a blunt instrument”, saying there were better ways of achieving health safety.

“There is room now for the Government to introduce the policies and investments to get tourism out of this hole because we are being walloped at the moment,” said Eoghan O’Meara Walsh, its chief executive.

Mr O’Meara Walsh said 2020 “will be very difficult” with the industry relying solely on domestic tourism despite 70% of the value of the market normally sourced from international tourists. 

“Obviously the quarantine period will affect inbound tourism and the trick is to keep many of those businesses alive as possible so that we can through to 2021 when hopefully a level of normality can resume,” he said. 

ITIC said tourism and hospitality require €1bn in grants and €500m in liquidity measures.

It also wants the wage subsidy scheme and waiving of local authority charges to be extended through the end of next March.

“Those are the fundamental financial interventions that will be required but also there will be a need to stimulate the domestic market this summer because that is the only show in town, so we are advocating an extensive media marketing campaign with domestic vouchers and going forward we want the Vat rate reduced and the employer-Prsi to be halved to make it easier for companies to recruit,” said Mr O’Meara Walsh.

He said the tourism had delivered jobs when the Vat rate was cut following the last economic crisis and would do so again.