Sun, 05 Dec 2021

DUBLIN, Ireland: Tourism officials have reached out to Tnaiste Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Minister Catherine Martin to seek extended government assistance to businesses in Ireland's hospitality industry.

The tourism officials warned that pubs, restaurants and hotels face bankruptcies in the light of new restrictions, particularly reduced operating hours, imposed as Covid cases have increased throughout Ireland.

In a letter from the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, officials urged the government to understand that restrictions imposed on its members is causing great hardships, noting that recent public health decisions "have effectively re-introduced trading restrictions on its members".

"Although businesses have not been closed, the effect of recent Government announcements including midnight closing of licensed premises, including hotel bars and restaurants for residents; the self-quarantining of all household close contacts; and the new "work from home" directive have brought about widespread cancellations across the tourism and hospitality sector and massively depressed future demand," ITIC chief executive Eoghan O'Mara Walsh wrote in the letter.

Further, Walsh has asked the government to extend until June 2022 the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, instead of ending it in April.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation also "strongly" urged the Government to reverse its planned increase of the tourism Vat rate to 13.5 percent next September, noting that it would be higher than in other European countries.

"For recovery to start in summer 2022, the industry will need enhanced supports over the fallow months that lie ahead. Without enhanced supports, Ireland's tourism product will be massively diminished, including further business closures and job losses, and the sector's ability to recover will be jeopardized," Walsh said.

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