Fáilte Ireland has announced funding for tourism transport operators and the development of outdoor dining facilities.
Tourism Transport Operators
Tourism transport operators such as car rental companies, chauffeur and limousine businesses and escorted tour providers will be eligible to apply for funding under the next stage of Fáilte Ireland's strategic €55 million Tourism Business Continuity Scheme.
Fáilte Ireland will open applications on Thursday 8 April 2021.
The €55 million allocation for the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme was secured by the minister for tourism, culture, arts, sport, Gaeltacht and media, Catherine Martin, in Budget 2021. The scheme is designed to help strategically important tourism businesses via a direct financial contribution to support them with future operational and continuity plans. Fáilte Ireland is responsible for developing and administering the scheme.
Martin is quoted on Fáilte Ireland's website as saying, "We know that a significant number of international visitors use hired and escorted tourism transport services so a readily available stock of good quality hire vehicles is critically important to successfully spreading tourism across the country when it is safe to do so. The tourist chauffeur and limousine sector also provide important driver services for overseas visitors and we look forward to these providers making a positive contribution to Ireland’s economic recovery in the future."
Meanwhile, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly commented, "The long-term survival of strategic tourism transport businesses is extremely challenging due to their reliance on international visitors. This scheme is part of Fáilte Ireland's work to support those vulnerable but viable strategic tourism businesses to survive the current crisis by offsetting their fixed costs while they are unable to operate. Research shows that exploring Ireland by car is popular with US visitors especially. In 2019, 43% of all American holidaymakers hired a car while visiting Ireland."
Full details and eligibly criteria for Fáilte Ireland's Tourism Transport Business Continuity Scheme will be available on www.failteireland.ie from April 8.
Martin and Fáilte Ireland have also announced details of a new €17 million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity across Ireland.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme is comprised of two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and local authorities across Ireland. The first part of the scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their outdoor seating capacity. Funding allocated under the second part of the scheme will enable local authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme will open for initial applications on April 12.
Martin is quoted on Fáilte Ireland's website as saying, "This scheme has two main objectives: firstly, to enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and secondly to enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to develop appropriate permanent weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure. The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery."
Kelly commented, "I want to thank Minister Martin for securing this funding and the CCMA for its support with designing and administering it. Part one of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme relates to outdoor seating and accessories to help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating. Part two of the scheme relates to weatherproofing and outdoor dining infrastructure which focusses on the development of medium to large scale permanent public dining spaces in towns and centres in preparation for welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so. Each local authority can apply for up to €200,000 under this element of the scheme. We have been working closely with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) on behalf of the local authorities to design a scheme that will be efficient and practical. We look forward to seeing the results across the country."
Chair of the CCMA Rural Development, Community, Tourism, Culture and Heritage (RCTCH) Committee Moira Murrell added, "Local authorities are looking forward to administering this scheme for individual businesses, as well as delivering year-round all-weather outdoor seating options to boost the appeal and attractiveness of our cities and towns. Following the success of the Street Furniture Grant Scheme, implemented by some local authorities in 2020, we look forward to creating outdoor dining experiences around the country that not only benefit locals, but are also attractive to domestic and overseas visitors when the sector re-opens. Developing outdoor infrastructure is a key element of answering the consumer demand for more flexible dining options."
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