Business ‘will not survive’ on essential-only travel - task force

Report recommends extension of temporary wage subsidy scheme until June 2021

Government task force on aviation recovery calculates that around 140,000 jobs depend directly and indirectly on aviation in the Republic. Photograph:  Kenneth O’Halloran

Government task force on aviation recovery calculates that around 140,000 jobs depend directly and indirectly on aviation in the Republic. Photograph: Kenneth O’Halloran

 

Irish business will not survive on essential travel only, a Government task force warned on Friday. The Task Force on Aviation Recovery’s report, published on Friday, says that living with Covid-19 must include international travel.

“Our economy will not surive on the basis of a blanket policy of ’essential travel’ only,” the task force warns. The Government is currently sticking to its advice to the public to avoid all non-essential overseas travel until July 20th, when it will review the situation.

The group, chaired by businessman Chris Horn, points out that domestic tourism alone will not be enough to support the Republic’s hospitality businesses. Irish holiday makers spent around €3.3 billion here in 2018, while overseas visitors contributed an estimated €8.7 billion, the report notes.

“Much of our key business and services sectors – including high technology, software, pharmaceutical, medical, finance, food and beverage – cannot survive indefinitely with zoom-like calls,” the task force argues.

It adds that face-to-face meetings are needed to expand markets, for sales, raising cash and, mergers and acquisitions.

“Business is rarely done between companies, but rather between the people in those companies,” it says. “Brexit requires that new markets are urgently nurtured and developed, and virtual meetings are not particularly effective when building new business relationships.”

The task force recommends that the temporary wage subsidy scheme be extended for aviation workers until June 2021.

“Keeping people in jobs and keeping companies ‘business ready’ means that they will be ready to better respond to market opportunities when they emerge,” it says.

The report calculates that around 140,000 jobs depend directly and indirectly on aviation in the Republic.

For the public and the industry, the task force recommends that the Government keep full transparency on the green list of countries that it intends maintaining as it eases travel restrictions.