Ireland’s travel agents have asked for financial assistance from the government, warning 3,500 jobs are at risk.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is calling for wage subsidies and grants to support almost 100 businesses running more than 140 shops as well as protecting the inbound sector.
A delegation handed in a petition to Ireland’s parliament warning the industry had lost 95% of business since March.
The ITAA said inbound visitation amounted to 70% of tourism revenue.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound travel, therefore opening up air travel would impact massively on the Irish tourism industry. There are currently 250,000 jobs at risk in the tourism sector, which is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry,” it said.
ITAA chief executive Pat Dawson said: “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.
“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.”
He added: “Irish people love to travel; as soon as it is declared safe to travel again we believe that consumer confidence will be restored. Until that happens, we need support from government to protect our customers and our businesses.”