Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (1022)

Malcolm Noonan

Question:

1022. Deputy Malcolm Noonan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the efforts being undertaken to ensure the re-establishment of tourism markets for the cottage industry bed and breakfast sector (details supplied). [6461/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department has liaised with other Government departments and industry representative bodies, to align the economy wide COVID-19 supports and initiatives with tourism and hospitality needs.

The measures put in place by the Government to support businesses initially focused on supporting those who have lost their jobs and in supporting businesses to remain viable during this difficult time with specifically targeted supports to assist companies to stay operational and retain their staff.

As a result, many tourism businesses are now availing the various cross-sectoral economic supports that the Government has already put in place such as; the wage subsidy scheme, increased unemployment benefits, the state credit guarantee scheme, working capital loan schemes, enterprise support schemes and deferrals of tax liabilities, VAT, social contributions and local authority rates.

Fáilte Ireland has set up a COVID-19 Industry Advisory Group which meets weekly. The purpose of this group is to provide support to the tourism industry and to facilitate the timely sharing of information and insights to help improve the sector's understanding and response to the crisis. Fáilte Ireland has also developed a COVID-19 Business Support Hub which offers a suite of targeted supports for tourism businesses including a series of webinars from experts in each field, as well as advice guides with detailed FAQs and templates where necessary.

On 1st May, the Government published a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business to ease the COVID-19 restrictions and re-open Ireland’s economy in a phased manner. In this regard Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with the relevant authorities, is currently preparing guidelines for the tourism sector.

Minister Ross and I have appointed a Tourism Recovery Taskforce to prepare a Tourism Recovery Plan which will include a set of recommendations on how best the Irish tourism sector can adapt and recover in the changed tourism environment as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The plan will identify priority aims, key enablers and market opportunities for the sector for the period 2020-2023. The Taskforce may consult with stakeholders to inform its deliberations and report back this year. The membership of the Taskforce is available on my Department’s website.