Irish Government Establishes Tourism Recovery Taskforce
The Irish government has established a Tourism Recovery Taskforce to identify measures to enable the Irish tourism industry to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
"Time Is Now Of The Essence"
Commenting on the news, Tim Fenn, chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), the president of which, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, is a member of the new task force, said, "We are facing a deepening crisis with profound implications for the Irish economy. The immediate impact has been the closure of thousands of tourism businesses throughout the country, including over 90% of hotels. Time is now of the essence as we begin to reopen the sector, and this will require a package of sector specific measures to protect the 260,000 jobs supported by our industry. In the aftermath of the last recession, tourism created 90,00 new jobs, so with the right supports, tourism has a very important role to play in Ireland's recovery.
"One of the lessons learnt from the financial crisis was the requirement to act extremely quickly so that large parts of the economy are not obliterated, with long-term consequences. The impact would be particularly devastating for the regions with 70% of tourism employment located outside of Dublin. Hotels and guesthouses not only provide local employment opportunities, they buy local services, source locally-produced food and provide a vital infrastructure in support of local business and communities. The community aspect of hotels is also an integral part of every village, town and city with hotels as local hubs and providing much needed sponsorship."
Call For Additional Measures
Fenn continued, "While today's [Wednesday May 20] announcement is a very welcome initial step as part of the roadmap for tourism recovery, a number of urgent measures are also required without delay to safeguard our industry."
The additional measures to safeguard the tourism industry for which the IHF is calling are liquidity measures tailored to the specific challenges facing tourism businesses to help them survive and restart, a reduction in tourism VAT on a permanent basis to assist recovery and secure a viable and sustainable future for tourism, the continuation of the job subsidy scheme for tourism and hospitality during the COVID-19 crisis, and an extension of the three-month local authority rates and charges waiver period for tourism businesses to coincide with business interruption due to the COVID-19 crisis and for a minimum of 12 months.
Fenn added, "We wish the Tourism Recovery Taskforce every success and we assure them of our full support."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.