The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has published a Revival Plan outlining tourism’s rescue in the immediate term and recovery over the medium term.
The Tourism Industry Revival Plan includes measures needed for the sector’s survival and also outlines 45 policy recommendations that it urges the new Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin, to adopt.
The Plan outlines 3 growth scenarios – optimistic, baseline and pessimistic – for Irish tourism between now and 2025. ITIC argues that Ireland’s tourism industry can deliver the optimistic outcome if COVID 19 is contained and Government adopts the recommendations within the Revival Plan – this would mean €2bn annual tax receipts to the exchequer and 323,029 people employed in the sector.
Maurice Pratt, acting Chair of ITIC, said: “Tourism is unique in that it can provide jobs and regional economic balance quickly given the right enabling factors and policies. The industry has seen a shattering 80% fall in business this year and we urge the new Government to put tourism at the heart of its July stimulus measure and help the industry through this crisis and onto a growth path.”
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC, urged the Government to end the 14-day quarantine rule on inbound visitors and said it was “akin to a ‘closed sign’ above Ireland for inbound tourism”.
He went on to say “The rest of Europe is relaxing travel restrictions and that is where Ireland should be going while adopting best practice public health guidelines”.
ITIC’s Revival Plan argues for an immediate package of €1.5bn in business support grants and liquidity for the tourism and hospitality industry and the extension of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme through to March 2021.
O’Mara Walsh, noted: “75% of the Irish tourism economy is made up of international visitation and sadly this will be massively affected this year so Government must support Ireland’s largest indigenous industry now or else there will be widespread business closures and job losses throughout regional Ireland.”
The Tourism Industry Revival Plan is the first business case for sector support presented to the new Government and O’Mara Walsh wished Catherine Martin well in her appointment as Minister but he criticised the fact that tourism had not been placed within an Economic or Business Department: “Tourism is the economic lifeblood of regional Ireland and needs to be thought of as an engine of growth, exchequer returns, and employment”.
ITIC’s Plan includes a call for a new VAT rate of 5% for tourism services, an increase in overseas marketing budgets, a halving of employer PRSI rates, and a creative use of state aid rules to support airports and carriers into the country. The plan has been sent into the new Government and has also been submitted to the Government’s Tourism Recovery Taskforce.