Inbound visitor groups seek extension of State financial supports
Tourism trade body calls for aid and claims to face losing 90% of revenue over two years
Tourism industry groups say the proposed resumption of international travel on July 19th will bring back no more than 10 per cent of the leisure market. Photograph: iStock
Three industry organisations whose members were responsible for bringing in 765,000 foreign visitors to Ireland prior to the pandemic have joined forces to “plead” for an extension of State financial supports.
The combined total of 60 members of the the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO), the Irish Inbound Tour Operators’ Association and the Irish Golf Tour Operators’ Association say they are facing into a second year with virtually no revenues.
They are seeking an extension of supports for inbound visitor businesses, as the rest of the tourism industry gears up for a busy season of domestic travel. The groups say that while the proposed resumption of international travel on July 19th may bring back up to 10 per cent of the leisure market, it still means that their members will have lost up to 90 per cent of all revenues over a two-year period.
Members of the three umbrella organisations, employing up to 1,000 staff, received funding last year from a fund administered by Fáilte Ireland, the Ireland-based inbound agents business continuity scheme. The State has not committed to renewing the fund for another year, however.
The organisations are calling on the Government to provide Fáilte Ireland with extra funding to renew the grants. They are also seeking an extension of the wage subsidy scheme until the end of next March for their sectors, and for further clarity to be given around capacity limits for events for next year, as they are currently bidding to bring in business for the summer of 2022.
“Domestic tourism might be opening up again, but we rely 100 per cent on foreign visitors,” said Nicola McGrane, chief executive of Conference Partners International and co-chair of AIPCO.
“We feel as if we are in the 24th mile of a marathon and we still need that little bit of help to get over the line. We got funding for last year through the Fáilte Ireland grants but we are not hearing that we will get it again.”