Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.28 6 May 2020


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The Minister of State for Tourism has thrown his support behind a new bank holiday to help recovery in the sector.

Brendan Griffin told the Dáil he would welcome any such holiday either early in the year or "at the tail end" of the year.

He said: "Personally for a long time I've felt that, coming from a county that's so dependent on tourism, that an additional bank holiday - either at the earlier part of the year, or the tail end of the year - would be very helpful.

"I see the economic benefits that come [with it].

"Probably at the tail end - because with Easter and St Patrick's Day... we have a lot of them there together in the early part of the year".

Minister Griffin also said tourism is one of the most directly-affected sectors of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: "With international aviation at a virtual standstill, the closure of tourism sites and a ban on public gatherings, the impact of COVID-19 on global tourism is overwhelming and immediate."

"In the space of a few short weeks, the Irish tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated".

He said job losses are estimated to be in excess of 200,000, but that the scale of the impact remains difficult to estimate.

He also quoted an OECD statistic, which suggests international tourism could decline by 75% for 2020.

While domestic tourism is expected to recover more quickly, it could still be hit by 50% or more.

Minister Griffin also said he supports calls for a temporary 0% VAT rate.

"While it is a matter for the Department of Finance primarily, certainly my view that in the current context a 0% VAT rate would be the appropriate rate for the industry.

"So certainly, in answering your question directly, yes I would absolutely echo the calls from the various bodies".

Main image: An empty O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre. Photo: Rollingnews.ie

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Bank Holiday Brendan Griffin Covid-19 Ireland Minister of State For Tourism New Bank Holiday Tourism Industry

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