Thursday, 10 September 2020

Questions (69, 77)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

69. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport if there are grants available for the running of an office and so on (details supplied) during Covid-19 lockdown. [23074/20]

View answer

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

77. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding travel agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23117/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 77 together.

I am aware of the serious difficulties arising for Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of overseas travel and tourism.

The sector continues to benefit from a range of State supports made available for SMEs - including the wage subsidies - and the State is also providing a special financial guarantee under a Refund Credit Note scheme for the sector, which makes the credit notes that licensed travel agent and tour operators issue to their customers a very secure proposition. Credits notes to the value of €17m have already been issued to consumers under the scheme – under which their value is guaranteed by the State - and this is money that the industry would otherwise have had to pay back in cash refunds.

I know that businesses in the sector are looking for more, and the Irish Travel Agents Association has made representations on behalf of its members for additional financial supports in the form of top-ups to business support schemes announced in the July Stimulus. These are being considered.