I am acutely aware that tourism is one of the most directly affected sectors in the current crisis. The impact of COVID-19 on tourism globally has been overwhelming and immediate with unprecedented consequences for Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sector. The sector is a significant employer particularly in rural areas.
Many tourism businesses are currently availing the various cross-sectoral economic supports that the Government has already put in place. Government will continue to explore funding potential for all enterprises including tourism businesses as they work through the challenges facing them, including through any mechanisms allowable through the EU’s state aid framework.
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.
It is envisaged that the Taskforce will establish working groups to carry out specific tasks and that the Taskforce will undertake a widespread stakeholder consultation process whereby all sectors and interested parties will have an opportunity to provide constructive inputs and innovative ideas on how this vital sector to our economy can adapt and recover in a meaningful and sustainable way. The Taskforce will report back later this year.