The Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC), Ireland’s largest representative body for coach touring companies and private bus operators, has welcomed the Budget 2022 announcement and said the investment in tourism recovery will help revive the crippled coach tourism sector in 2022.
The CTTC said Government has rightly adopted a strategic approach to the allocation of funding.
The coach tourism sector attracts two million international tourists annually, amounting to almost one-quarter of Ireland’s annual tourist numbers (pre-pandemic).
In its pre-Budget 2022 submission, the CTTC had requested, among other measures, the full resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme, with increased funding specifically allocated to coach tourism.
It also recommended an extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) until turnover returned to at least 75% of its pre-Covid levels.
Business Continuity Scheme & EWSS Extension
The CTTC, therefore, was happy to see the allocation of €50 million in Business Continuity Scheme funding support for the tourism sector with €39 million allocated for marketing Ireland abroad.
The EWSS has also been extended until April of 2022 and the hospitality VAT rate will be retained at 9% until the end of August 2022.
Given that the private coach sector currently supports 11,000 jobs and contributes more than €600 million annually to the Irish economy, it was imperative that any threats to its survival were directly addressed as part of Budget 2022.
Support will Comfort Many
Chairman of the CTTC John Halpenny said: “It is a relief to learn that the Government acknowledges the strategic importance of the private coach sector and has taken on board the recommendations outlined in our pre-Budget submission.
“The industry has suffered enormously over the last eighteen months and while further challenges lie ahead, the support announced today will come as some comfort to many.
“The resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme funding is welcome news but an allocation must be ring-fenced specifically for coach tourism to acknowledge the crucial role our members play in transporting international visitors across the regions and to the most peripheral parts of this island.
“Without their direct involvement in tourism many regional retailers, hospitality outlets, visitor centres and jobs would be in jeopardy.”
“I would strongly urge that dispersion of these funds happens as quickly as possible in order to ensure the survival of an industry that supports thousands of businesses and jobs across the country.
Our members are keen to actively participate in the tourism recovery and we stand ready to facilitate the transportation of visitors the length and breadth of the country.”