ITIC has written to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Minister Catherine Martin warning them that the travel and hospitality sectors are facing the prospect of further business closures, job losses and no recovery without further government supports being introduced in the near-term.
The letter says that while most measures in the budget were welcome, latest developments have “changed circumstances” for the largest indigenous industry in the country.
ITIC said that, while understandable, recent government public health decisions “have effectively re-introduced trading restrictions on its members".
I“Although businesses have not been closed, the effect of recent Government announcements – including midnight closing of licensed premises, including hotel bars and restaurants for residents; the self-quarantining of all household close contacts; and the new “work from home” directive – have brought about widespread cancellations across the tourism and hospitality sector and massively depressed future demand,” ITIC chief executive Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said in the letter.
In its letter, ITIC has called for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme – or EWSS – to continue up to next June, instead of the end of April. It also wants confirmation that local authority rates will be waived for the first three months of 2022 and the restoration of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme – CRSS - payments for tourism and hospitality businesses.
It is also “strongly” urging the Government to reconsider its decision to increase the tourism Vat rate to 13.5% next September, saying it would put Ireland on an uncompetitive footing with other European countries.
“Irish tourism can and will recover from this crisis and will add jobs, exchequer receipts and export earnings to our national economy once again,” Mr O’Mara Walsh said in the letter.
“However, for recovery to start in summer 2022, industry will need enhanced supports over the fallow months that lie ahead. Without enhanced supports Ireland’s tourism product will be massively diminished, including further business closures and job losses, and the sector’s ability to recover will be jeopardised,” he said.