Ireland's Tourism Recovery Taskforce has called for the tourism and hospitality sector VAT rate to be reduced from 13.5% to 9% in its newly published Tourism Recovery Plan 2020-2023.
Other measures for which the Taskforce has called in the plan include business continuity grants of €120 million to enable key strategic tourism businesses to survive the COVID-19 crisis, €50 million in Exchequer funding for 2021, an increase in domestic marketing spend from €10 million to €30 million in 2021, and an increase in the overseas tourism marketing fund from €47 million to €94 million to help protect Ireland's existing brand position internationally, as reported by rte.ie.
"Extremely Important Plan"
Commenting on the new report, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, "COVID-19 delivered an immediate and devastating impact on tourism and hospitality this year. Since the middle of March, we have had virtually no international visitors. I was therefore very pleased to be part of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce and to contribute to this extremely important plan, to help our sector survive this crisis and recover. I would like to thank Chairperson Ruth Andrews and all my colleagues on the taskforce for their hard work and contribution. This report sets out vital supports for our industry, in order to retain skills, capacity and assets to strengthen recovery.
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"In a normal year, around 75% of the total tourism spend comes from international visitors. While 'staycation' business has helped alleviate the complete collapse of the tourism sector in 2020, it will be important to welcome back international visitors at the earliest opportunity and when the time is right.
"I therefore welcome the call to double the overseas tourism marketing fund, to €94 million, to help protect Ireland’s strong brand position in the international marketplace and to kick-start the recovery in overseas tourism. I also welcome the recommendation of a €92 million Industry Activation Fund, over three years, to enable our industry partners to undertake extensive sales and marketing activities. Other key overseas recommendations include supporting our air and sea access sector, which is vital for connectivity. The recommendation to strengthen our international competitiveness in emerging tourism markets, by offering a free 90-day visa waiver programme for short-term holiday visits, is also very welcome.
"A Truly Terrible Time For Tourism"
Gibbons added, "This is a truly terrible time for tourism, but I do believe that Irish tourism can, and will, recover from this devastating pandemic. There are undoubtedly significant challenges for our industry. Once this crisis is past and Ireland is open again to international visitors, we in Tourism Ireland will be ready to play our part in delivering a sustainable recovery for the long-term future of our industry. We will be ready on the ground to roll out an extensive recovery kick-start programme, when the time is right. Our focus is on having promotional campaigns which will be ready to go, once there are signs that consumers overseas are getting back on the move and that Ireland is open for business."
© 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.