Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
872. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the consideration given to making a substantial restart grant available to the hotel industry based on 100% of the 2019 rates paid by the hotels in view of the very large rates paid by most hotels and the fact that hotels will not be operating at full capacity for a long time to come due to Covid-19 regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11242/20]
My Department has liaised with other Government departments and industry representative bodies, to align the economy wide COVID-19 supports and initiatives with tourism and hospitality needs.
The measures put in place by the Government to support businesses initially focused on supporting those who have lost their jobs and in supporting businesses to remain viable during this difficult time with specifically targeted supports to assist companies to stay operational and retain their staff.
As a result, many tourism businesses are now availing the various cross-sectoral economic supports that the Government has already put in place such as; the wage subsidy scheme, increased unemployment benefits, the state credit guarantee scheme, working capital loan schemes, enterprise support schemes and deferrals of tax liabilities, VAT, social contributions and local authority rates.
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.
Fáilte Ireland has set up a COVID-19 Industry Advisory Group which meets weekly. The purpose of this group is to provide support to the tourism industry and to facilitate the timely sharing of information and insights to help improve the sector's understanding and response to the crisis. Fáilte Ireland has also developed a COVID-19 Business Support Hub which offers a suite of targeted supports for tourism businesses including a series of webinars from experts in each field, as well as advice guides with detailed FAQs and templates where necessary.
To assist tourism businesses reopening in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, Fáilte Ireland has published guidelines for the tourism sector, prepared in consultation with the tourism industry and relevant authorities. These guidelines are intended to assist tourism businesses meet requirements in line with the Return to Work Safely protocol and based on the latest health advice.
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.
873. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has received an application for once-off funding from a business (details supplied) to enable it to reopen in 2020; if so, when a decision will be made on the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11244/20]
My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy. While my Department provides capital funding to Fáilte Ireland for investment in tourism product development, it is not directly involved in the management of individual tourism projects and has no role in the administration of the agency's grants programmes.
With regard to a funding application along the lines described by the Deputy, I am not aware of any such application having been received. I have asked Fáilte Ireland to reply directly to the Deputy to confirm the position in this regard. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days