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Tourism taskforce urges radical steps to sustain industry

The Tourism Recovery Taskforce has called for radical steps to sustain and revive the industry post-Covid 19 including €120m in grant aid, a loan scheme and staggered school holidays.

The Tourism Recovery Taskforce published its Tourism Recovery Plan 2020-2023 yesterday.

Chair of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce and CEO of the Incoming Tour Operators Association Ruth Andrews said any longer-term recovery plan for the sector will depend on a more immediate survival phase to sustain businesses through the next six months and to keep key strategic assets in place.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said the market will recover but needs to ensure it is in a strong position when that recovery does come.

The taskforce has recommended a €120m business continuity grant to assist businesses impacted by the initial lockdown and by ongoing restrictions.

This grant aid would support those who depend on international tourism, such as car hire firms, tour operators and visitor attractions, many which have seen an 80% drop off in customers.

Ms Andrews also said that in the medium-term changing school holidays could boost domestic tourism and increase the so-called ‘staycation’ model.

She said by spreading mid-term breaks across regions it would spread capacity and allow more people to holiday in Ireland.

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The taskforce is calling for €150m in a loan scheme to be administered by Fáilte Ireland and the Ireland Strategic Investment fund to allow “tailored liquidity solutions”.

It is also seeking an extension of the Covid-adaptation fund to support businesses to modify to be able to facilitate and service customers, such as by increasing outdoor space.

Ms Andrews said it will be difficult to operate outdoors over the winter but the tourism market needs to invest to remain viable for the year ahead.

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