The July Stimulus and Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and fiscal measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. In regard to tourism, these measures include:
- The first phase of the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme was launched on 11th February by Fáilte Ireland to help strategic tourism business survive the pandemic and drive recovery. The Scheme will contribute to the fixed costs of identified tourism businesses that are not eligible for CRSS to support their survival. It will provide an equitable level of payment to the CRSS for qualifying businesses and the first phase will cover businesses such as tourism attractions, activity providers, and caravan and camping sites.
- A €26m adaptation fund for the tourism sector to adapt their premises to meet COVID-19 safety requirements.
- In addition, the Government has introduced a number of horizontal measures that have been of assistance to the tourism sector including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), tax warehousing, and the Commercial Rates waiver.
The measures introduced have been critical in assisting tourism businesses to survive the hugely challenging situation brought about by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the evolution of the pandemic in Ireland and elsewhere has meant that our tourism sector has remained in survival mode.
On 23 February the Government published COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 The Path Ahead. The Government also decided to support businesses, including tourism businesses, by extending the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the current commercial rates waiver for a further three months. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was also extended until end-June.
The Government has also committed to publishing a National Economic Recovery Plan. As part of the Plan the Government will consider more targeted measures to help re-boot those sectors, such as tourism, who will face particular challenges during the recovery phase when the economy reopens.
In regard to further information on supports for the tourism sector I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.