The Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC), has welcomed the Budget 2022 announcements and said the investment in tourism recovery will help revive the crippled coach tourism sector in 2022.
The CTTC has stated that the Government has rightly adopted a strategic approach to the allocation of funding. The coach tourism sector attracts two million international tourists annually, amounting to almost one-quarter of Ireland’s annual tourist numbers (pre-pandemic).
In its pre-Budget 2022 submission, the representative body had urged the Government to recognise the crucial economic and social value of the sector and highlighted that now was the opportune time to leverage the strategic value of the industry. It warned that this would only be possible with increased Government support, as the sector remained hugely damaged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its submission to the Government, the CTTC requested among other measures a full resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme, with increased funding specifically allocated to coach tourism. The representative body also recommended an extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) until turnover returned to at least 75% of its pre-Covid levels. In today’s Budget, Government announced €50 million in Business Continuity Scheme funding support for the tourism sector with €39 million allocated for marketing Ireland abroad. The EWSS has also been extended until April of 2022 and the hospitality VAT rate will be retained at 9% until the end of August 2022.
The CTTC has also welcomed the €90 million aviation support package, which will help to rebuild international connectivity.
Given that the private coach sector currently supports 11,000 jobs and contributes more than €600 million annually to the Irish economy, it was imperative that any threats to its survival were directly addressed as part of Budget 2022.
Commenting on the announcements the Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny (pictured) said: “It is a relief to learn that the Government acknowledges the strategic importance of the private coach sector and has taken on board the recommendations outlined in our pre-Budget submission. The industry has suffered enormously over the last eighteen months and while further challenges lie ahead, the support announced today will come as some comfort to many. The resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme funding is welcome news but an allocation must be ring-fenced specifically for coach tourism to acknowledge the crucial role our members play in transporting international visitors across the regions and to the most peripheral parts of this island. Without their direct involvement in tourism many regional retailers, hospitality outlets, visitor centres and jobs would be in jeopardy.”