The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) welcomes the announcement by Minister of State responsible for international travel, Hildegarde Naughton, of the provision of a €10 million business support fund for travel agents.
The travel industry has been decimated over the past 22 months by both the impact of the pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions on international travel. This fund will help travel agents throughout the country remain in business until viable trading can resume.
The ITAA has been working tirelessly with government departments and politicians since summer 2020 to secure financial support to protect the travel industry and, in turn, to protect the Irish consumer. Consumers who book with a bonded, licensed Irish travel agent are guaranteed protection under the European Package Travel Directive (PTD). This protection is not present when booking ‘do-it-yourself’ holidays.
Paul Hackett, President of the ITAA, said, “The past 22 months have been the most difficult of all times for the travel industry. Travel agents have facilitated clients with refunds and rebooking throughout this time despite trading at near zero levels.”
He continued, “We in the ITAA have worked hard on behalf of all licensed travel agents to highlight the issues faced by our industry and very much welcome this support fund for travel agents licensed in Ireland. It will go towards protecting the Irish based travel industry, facilitating a smooth and safe return to business in 2022. Our industry is resilient. We have overcome other catastrophes in the past and for the most part our members have survived the most challenging trading environment ever seen. I have no doubt that over the next 18 to 24 months we will recover to pre-pandemic trading levels.”