Irish tour operators have said they require “substantial grant aid support” to stay in business due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,
The Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA) said the State faces missing out on the estimated €800 million that international tourists bring to the Irish economy annually.
It called for the introduction of “safe structured test and trace travel protocol consistent with the ECDE and the EU traffic light system” for incoming international visitors in 2021.
ITOA president Rob Rankin said: “ITOA understands that public health is and must be paramount. We’re calling for the replacement of the 14-day quarantine for overseas visitors and a pan-European safe protocol to be included in the Governments Road-map to recovery and resilience.
“Our members require certainty, and this can be achieved with a specific date in 2021 when a structured test and trace system for incoming international visitors will be in place.
“Such certainty will give assurance to visitors that they can retain or book a holiday to Ireland next Spring or Summer and that deferred business we have given commitment to can be secured.”
The ITOA also called for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to be revised to levels of support provided by the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
“Companies who have suffered the greatest impact, like ITOA members, due to the restrictions imposed by Government for the public good should be given greater support,” the group said.
“In addition, a graded approach for tourism business who have seen their business fall by a minimum of 60 per cent should be put in place.
“Having faced closure since March due to Covid-19, incoming tour operators have lost 98 per cent of their 2020 business due to the government travel ban.
“Without urgent financial support, these companies cannot survive until next summer. ITOA is urging the Government to put in place a significant recovery strategy for the tourism industry as part of their re-opening plan.”