Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (82)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

82. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport his views on a matter regarding the travel industry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29326/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I am aware of the serious difficulties, which the Deputy has raised, 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. This sector is among that category of businesses that have not been able to reclaim any meaningful level of lost business over the last 6 months.

It is the case that the sector is benefitting 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. A large amount of credits notes have already been issued by the sector – which 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 small business support schemes announced in the July Stimulus. As I understand it, these additional provisions are being considered in the context of the upcoming Budget.

As you know, there are many competing and compelling calls on Government and on the Exchequer for support. All that we can do is to try to help as many people and businesses as we can.