The Fianna Fáil Aviation, Tourism and Hospitality Steering Committee has today launched a discussion paper which looks at how to support businesses to survive during this pandemic and place them on the best possible footing to recover post-COVID-19.
Acknowledging the substantial supports in place for businesses currently, the Committee believes that these sectors have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and that the delivery of ongoing and targeted supports for cash flow, finance, and sustainability for their reopening and beyond is a priority action.
At the launch, Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley said that Government focus must be on assisting the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors to become operational again.
Senator Dooley commented, “In an average year, 75% of the tourism economy is dependent on international visitors and a clear pathway is needed as to how this glaring hole in the market is going to be dealt with. We need to provide financial assistance to airports such as Shannon Airport that will support airlines to open strategically important routes that are not profitable in the short term but are really important for connectivity and for the wider business and tourism interests in the region.
We need to seriously consider the role of rapid antigen testing for the aviation sector, its use at airports will be a vital boost in re-establishing air travel in the coming months.”
Senator Dooley added, “Over the past year we on the Committee engaged with stakeholders across sectors and heard their frustration. Fianna Fáil in Government can deliver for people in these sectors if we use this on-the-ground experience and intelligence to push forward an agreed agenda to meet their requirements at Government level.
The focus must be on assisting the sectors to become operational again, to trade differently, to adapt and find new ways of doing business.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Deputy Cathal Crowe TD said commented, “The pandemic presents an opportunity to reimagine how we can support business and community. Across all sectors, the aim of the group and indeed of Fianna Fáil in Government must be to support business to survive during this pandemic and place them on the best possible footing to recover post-COVID-19.
“Within the paper, both immediate and medium-to-long term plans have been identified as a useful framework to look at rebuilding as we move out of the crisis phase, reflecting the changing needs of the sectors as they recover.”
The paper outlines that the guiding principle underpinning the discussion around supports must be the reality that the sectors involved here will likely be the last to see a full recovery from this pandemic, with full flights, large events and weddings unlikely to return until at least early 2022.
“There will not be a quick fix or return to normality on these sectors and we must therefore plan in this context. Lean trading months are the reality, as even as the economy and society reopen, it will not reopen to full capacity for them” concluded Deputy Crowe.