Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) is calling for emergency support from Government, Banks and the Insurance industry. The Activities sector – the majority of which is extremely seasonal – has been decimated by the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis with businesses closing and jobs lost.
IAAT is the independent representative body for the adventure/activity tourism sector on the island of Ireland. The Association now insists that it has never been more important for Irish tourism businesses to come together, to help mitigate damage in the short term and give the industry the best the best chance to recover in what will be extremely challenging months and possibly years ahead.
IAAT are supporting their members through this crisis by working with industry bodies, lobbying on the sector’s behalf, developing initiatives for the short & long term, and offering a mentoring service to each business facing a wide array of challenges.
Chief Executive Brendan Kenny said:
“Like so many other sectors, our members are devastated by the impact of this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. Our primary focus is the health and safety of our members, their families and their customers. However, we must also look to the Recovery phase and we are asking Government, our banks and the insurance industry to support us in saving businesses and jobs. Indeed, a recent survey we conducted showed that in comparison to the first six months of 2019, our sector is facing into a 72% drop in turnover, with 62% of jobs lost. And only weeks into this crisis, over 13% of businesses are already facing permanent closure”.
Some immediate actions IAAT propose include an immediate review of the VAT rate, making interest-free bank loans available, and breaks in insurance policies. Indeed, the Association has added their voice to other sectors in imploring the insurance industry to play their part in the national Recovery by offering flexibility for businesses with their current policy cover.
IAAT Chairman Maurice Whelan added:
“In the activities sector, we make a living from dealing with the ever-changing outdoor environment every day, and now we must apply that same mindset to overcome this incredible challenge. In Ireland we have always been a force to be reckoned with on the global stage, and it is a determined ambition that we will continue to perform well as a sector. As the World Tourism Organization said this week, it’s important to emphasise tourism’s unique ability to lead local and national growth. However, we do need immediate help from Government, banks and the insurance industry. We look forward to playing our role in the national recovery”.
While the Association is extremely cognisant of the public health crisis, they say they are already looking to the Recovery phase for the sector. The IAAT insists that their members – with the right support – will be ready to offer healthy, enjoyable experiences for all customers when the crisis abates, social distancing ends and of course when it is completely safe to do so.