The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed the setting up of a Government Task Force to spearhead recovery for the tourism sector, writes Shauna McCrudden
“We are facing a deepening crisis with profound implications for the Irish economy,” says Tim Fenn, IHF Chief Executive. “The immediate impact has been the closure of thousands of tourism businesses throughout the country, including over 90% of hotels.”
Tourism accounts for almost 4% of GNP (Gross National Product), with the industry creating over 90,000 new jobs in Ireland since 2011. But the COVID-19 crisis has caused everything to come to a standstill, with thousands of tourism businesses closing throughout the country.
I love nothing more than to have a weekend trip to an Irish hotel and I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to make sure this is possible again very soon. Supporting tourism not only supports over 260,000 jobs but also our own love of travel. With the right supports, tourism has a very important role to play in Ireland’s recovery.
This is why it’s so vital that the Tourism Recovery Task Force has been set up by the Government to identify measures to enable Irish tourism to recover from the devastating effects of Covid-19. IHF has welcomed the setting up of the taskforce with President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane having been appointed a member of the group.
“One of the lessons learned 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,” says Tim. “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.”
IHF has said that a number of urgent measures are also required to safeguard the industry. These include:
- Liquidity Measures tailored to the specific challenges facing tourism businesses to help them survive and restart. These measures would involve i) a direct business grant scheme; ii) 0% interest on Government guaranteed finance; iii) a Government supported scheme for deferral of capital and interest payments for one year; iv) re-assessment of the SBCI loan system.
- Reduction in tourism VAT on a permanent basis to assist recovery.
- Continuation of the job subsidy scheme for tourism and hospitality during the crisis.
- Local Authority rates and charges waiver period should be extended for a minimum of 12 months.
I think we can all say, along with the IHF, that we wish the Tourism Recovery Task Force every success.
For more, see www.ihf.ie
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