Travel agents have called on the government to provide supports to prevent the loss of up to 3,500 jobs following the collapse of the travel industry in the wake of COVID-19.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has requested that the government to consider measures such as wage subsidies and grants to help businesses survive the pandemic while inbound and outbound travel remains negligible.
Otherwise profitable travel agents have worked through the pandemic to rearrange holidays and attain refunds for customers while revenues have declined by an estimated 95% due to international restrictions.
A group of travel agents will hand in a petition with their demands that has been signed by 6,000 people to the Dail today, and the ITAA is due to meet with government for discussions on the future of the travel sector, with a view to reviving the industry when consumer confidence returns.
The current travel restrictions will have a knock on effect on the Irish travel industry well into the future, according to ITAA CEO Pat Dawson.
‘The travel industry has been forced into lockdown for an indefinite period of time due to the outbreak of COVID-19. We want to work with Government to save lives and keep our families, our staff, our clients and our communities safe, but we also need to preserve our businesses so that we can resume operations when it is safe to do so,’ Mr Dawson said.
‘We are hopeful that with government assistance, we will be able to save the 3,500 jobs that are currently at risk in the Irish travel industry.
‘These businesses were viable before the pandemic and I have no doubt that they will continue to be viable after the threat of COVID-19 has passed.’
Mr Dawson also asked for the government to ‘make a clear decision’ on the current travel guidelines to give travel agents certainty for planning.