The Irish Travel Agents Association has again called for clarity from the Government on the current COVID-19 travel restrictions, stating that Ireland is now standing alone in Europe in terms of travel restrictions. The current guidelines have caused confusion for both travel agents and their customers, as the Government has not cancelled flights, but is advising passengers against 'non-essential' travel..
The Association is dissatisfied with the mixed messaging from the Government, and believes that a clear decision must be made between cancelling all flights and offering compensation to affected customers, or implementing ‘air bridges’ between countries in Europe with a similar rate of recovery to Ireland.
The ITAA has previously discussed the option of ‘air bridges’ with a number of Tourist Boards from other EU countries that are deemed to have the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
ITAA CEO Pat Dawson stated,
He continued, “The EU Commission wanted a co-ordinated re-opening of borders within the EU, issued on 11 June. We are now significantly behind other EU member states in lifting travel restrictions, despite positive metrics from the NPHET. The travel sector has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are concerned that we will be the last industry to get a restart date. In addition to not being able to travel, we are also closed for inbound tourism, which will affect the symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound travel. This delay in lifting travel restrictions will drastically slow the recovery of the Irish travel sector and other related sectors such as hospitality and tourism.”