Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
86. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has discussed the need to provide travel agents with continuing business supports with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment given the ongoing challenges the sector is facing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27463/21]
I am fully aware of the plight of the Irish travel trade sector due to the significant impact of the pandemic and the imposition of necessary travel restrictions. I have previously raised this matter with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. I proposed an extension to the existing business support schemes for travel agents and tour operators, given that there is a direct correlation of loss of business due to the Government policy on international travel specifically which is not linked to the reopening of retail premises.
The travel trade sector has been able to avail of many of the support schemes made available by Government and both the EWSS and the CRSS schemes will run until the end of June 2021. Government has also clearly signalled that business supports will need to continue for many sectors as the country progresses through various phases of reopening. In addition, I welcome last week's announcement of the extension to the Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid (SBASC) to include non-rateable premises, bringing in a number of travel agents businesses which up to now were excluded from the scheme.
The Government remains fully committed to doing everything possible to support all those affected by this terrible virus, including continuing to help businesses survive until such times as they can begin to trade in a meaningful way again.