July 2020

Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) is the independent representative association for the Activity tourism sector in Ireland. Activity tourism has been one of the fastest growing within Irish tourism and we aim to develop the sector in a sustainable and responsible manner to ensure the country is competitive on the international stage.

We represent over 200 of the country’s leading Activity providers for the domestic and international markets – everything from hiking to kayaking, surfing to equestrian, fishing to climbing, adventure centres offering a wide array of activities for groups, families and schools, and much, much more.

Like the entire tourism industry, our sector has been completely decimated by the Covid-19 crisis and now seeks urgent support from Government.

Our immediate and urgent FOUR KEY ASKS asks are as follows:

We ask that the TWSS be extended to April 2021 to allow our members sustain the employment needed to deliver and return to profitability.

We also ask for Seasonal Workers to be included on this Scheme. Due to the timing of the TWSS commencing, most seasonal workers were not included on the scheme to date, nor were they entitled to the pandemic payment. These seasonal workers are key to the success of a sector that primarily runs from April to September.

We ask for a universal VAT rate of 5% for our sector in the immediate term, moving to 9% in 2022.

Please note that most Surf businesses delivering their activities for the domestic and international tourism markets are currently classified under the 23% VAT rate because they are deemed to be “sports coaching”. In the main, they offer a leisure activity with no certification awarded, so we would ask for such businesses to be re-classified under any amended rate for the tourism sector.

Added note: This VAT adjustment is all the more pertinent given the UK boldly moving its VAT rate for Tourism & Hospitality from 20% to 5%.

With the 2020 season being so limited, many of our members’ businesses will struggle to survive into 2021 without grant support. We are asking for a grant scheme to support viable businesses who find themselves in distress.

Insurance is crippling the Activity sector, with an average of 20% of businesses operating costs going on insurance. We need support to save our businesses through solutions such as a group scheme and reform.

We ask the new Government to deliver reform as a matter of urgency and we look forward to Minister Helen McEntee making it a priority of her early days in office. Serious re-calibration of the Book of Quantum is vital for Irish tourism to survive and to be competitive against our international competitors. See the Alliance for Insurance Reform website here for details on the severity of the insurance crisis in Ireland.

As the Programme for Government states on page 27,
“(We will) work with the activity tourism sector to identify the interventions the State can make to support its expansion, including exploring the feasibility of a group insurance scheme”

These Four Key Asks are very much in line with the ITIC Industry Recovery Plan, and indeed the interim report from the Government’s Tourism Recovery Taskforce.

As the ITIC Recovery Plan states, “Covid-19 has hit the tourism industry harder than any other sector of the economy and is likely to be one of the more challenging to recover in full”.

For the full list of IAAT Asks to support the recovery of our Activities sector, please click HERE.