Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) is still digesting the real disappointment of the Government’s ‘July Stimulus Package’. IAAT see this as a huge opportunity missed for the Tourism industry, and particularly for the Activities sector which is so heavily dependent on the high season of April-September. With many businesses just opening this month, most of the 2020 season has been lost, and the year has been completely written off for businesses reliant on international visitors.

The question from IAAT to Government is: How do our seasonal businesses survive this winter through to 2021?

Our observations on key elements of the Stimulus Package include:

  • VAT: No move on the 13.5% VAT for tourism & hospitality – this was fundamental to save hundreds of businesses on the brink. Our key competitors across Europe pay 10% or less.

  • TAX REBATE: The 20% tax rebate does NOT apply to Activities or Attractions. And it is mostly only available for the off season (Oct – Apr) so of little benefit to Activities.

  • EMPLOYEE WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME (EWSS): The extension to the TWSS (now EWSS) is welcome for employers, particularly with Seasonal staff now included.

  • PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENT (PUP): No real consideration has been given to seasonal employees, many of whom were not eligible for original €350/wk PUP. This payment will taper off to €203, €250 and €350 in September (depending on earnings), with many employees having not had the opportunity to generate earnings and savings during a typical high season.

  • LOANS: The 0% interest for first year of an SME loan is fine, but many businesses do not want more loans (debt). Many are already having to borrow just to pay the extortionate insurance rates.

  • GRANTS: The expanded Restart Grant for Enterprises is welcome though we await clarification on the exact eligibility of non-rate paying businesses.

Brendan Kenny, Chief Executive of IAAT said:
“The Government have demonstrated a real lack of understanding of the Tourism industry and specifically the Activity sector, which supports over 7,000 jobs. The seasonal nature of our members’ businesses means that most of 2020 has already been decimated. As members of ITIC, we have supported their excellent Industry Revival Plan and we now also support ITIC’s call for an immediate meeting with the Taoiseach to express the industry’s disappointment and frustration.”

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.

The Association represents over 200 of the country’s leading Activity providers for the domestic and international markets, with over 7,000 employed by the sector. Our members offer 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.

For more information please contact:
Brendan Kenny – Chief Executive, IAAT / +353 (0)87 9446625