Seamus Heaney, head of Visit Cork. Photo: Brian Lougheed

Funding to help tourism sector

Promoters of tourism across Cork city and county have welcomed a new €55 million national funding scheme.

This week Fáilte Ireland announced details of its new €55 million Tourism Business Continuity Scheme.

The scheme will support those tourism businesses that were not eligible for the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme payment or previous Fáilte Ireland continuity grant schemes.

The announcement was made at a special virtual industry event watched by thousands of operators, providers and employers from across the tourism sector.

The allocation was secured by Minister Catherine Martin in Budget 2021 and Fáilte Ireland is responsible for developing and administering the scheme.

The National Tourism Development Authority also announced its heavyweight domestic marketing plans, investment commitments in outdoor dining and urban animation and its strategic priorities for the year ahead. The event entitled Survive to Thrive, provided industry with details of Fáilte Ireland’s plans that will help support resilience and survival in the short term and the recovery of the sector in the long-term.

Speaking with the Cork Independent, Seamus Heaney head of the Visit Cork initiative, welcomed the Government fund, which he believes will help a lot more small, medium and some large tourism businesses who were not eligible for Covid-19 supports to date.

He added: “Many tourism related business do not qualify for the current supports, but this fund will help those who are rudderless since last March. Many are viable businesses who are quickly burning their reserve and we need them to be in good shape as part of the all-important supply chain when Covid eventually gets extinguished.

“We thank Government for their support and Fáilte Ireland for making the criteria and application process easier - and for their tutorial videos on how to make the application and draw down the funding.”

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said: “Domestic tourism will be the first to return and we plan to invest significantly in domestic marketing once domestic tourism can restart.”

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, Gaeltacht and Media, Catherine Martin said: “I welcome Fáilte Ireland’s action plans for 2021 which I am confident will have a positive impact on the industry and will be key to helping it survive and thrive in the year ahead. I allocated €55million to Fáilte Ireland for the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme as part of Budget 2021 and this will be important to help those strategically important tourism businesses that are ineligible for other supports.

“The Government will continue to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and ensure that appropriate supports are in place. We are now developing tourism for survival through the pandemic and recovery in the medium and long term.”