Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC) members and bus operators in general welcome the Tourism Minister’s commitments on further supports for sector as revenues collapsed with no sign of a recovery in sight for early 2021.
Comments made by Tourism Minister, Catherine Martin TD., regarding further financial supports for the badly hit sector have been broadly welcomed by the industry.
Led by the Coach Tourism & Transport Council which stated that the Minister’s response was encouraging as she was recognising the immense hardship suffered by the industry since the first lockdown was implemented last March, forcing over 11,500 full-time staff, including seasonal workers, out of work.
In a reply to the CTTC following representations made by the group, Minister Martin said that both she and her department are acutely aware of the significant cash flow pressure that businesses are under and that she has forwarded the bus operators concerns to Fáilte Ireland for their consideration. Fáilte Ireland is currently overseeing a €55m Business Continuity funding programme to support strategic tourism businesses which the CTTC has requested support from.
Minister Martin, in her letter to the CTTC pledged to assist coach tour operators: “I want to assure you and your members that we are acutely aware of the significant cash flow pressure that businesses are under and have forwarded your letter to Fáilte Ireland for their consideration in this regard. The supports available to tourism businesses will continue to be reviewed as we seek to protect viable businesses and prepare for recovery in the sector.”
Responding John Halpenny, Chairperson of the CTTC, said: “We welcome the Minister’s comments as she fully recognises the devastation the pandemic has caused our members. We now hope that Fáilte Ireland will be mindful of the Minister’s comments when it comes to distributing the funding from the strategic business support package. Coach tourism is a key ingredient in getting the tourism sector up and running again.”
“Coach tourism brings two million people to Ireland every year and the coach industry contributes €370m to the economy so it is imperative that our sector receives its fair share of the Fáilte Ireland supports to benefit the wider economy when Covid-19 is finally brought under control in 2021,” he added.