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COVID-19 Trade Update Page

Irish Travel Trade Support with State-guaranteed Credit Note

15th May 2020 - 1:30pm

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross

#traveltradetogether

On 8th May, the Irish government agreed to back a new refund credit note for package holidays booked through Irish registered travel agents and tour operators that they can offer their customers. This aims to alleviate cashflow requirements on travel agents and tour operators facing unprecedented challenges in the current environment. It also provides confidence to customers as it will be State-guaranteed.

The refund credit note will work as follows: it can be to the value of all of the refund due or part of the refund alongside part cash. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date, it can be exchanged for its cash value, or can be used to book a replacement holiday. It will be State-guaranteed in the event that the travel agent or tour operator becomes insolvent.

 

Earlier this month, Pat Dawson (ITAA CEO) had stated; “While the ITAA welcome the support the industry has received so far, we are now calling on the Government to support vulnerable travel and tourism businesses during the pandemic. The implementation of credit notes for affected customers may help to protect otherwise healthy businesses that are suffering financially as a result of the current situation with the Coronavirus”.

 

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross welcomed the Government’s agreement and said: “The travel restrictions imposed across the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to the widespread cancellation of holidays during March, April and May, with many people having to postpone holiday, wedding and honeymoon plans. Under the EU Travel Package Directive, people who have had to cancel such bookings because of the Covid-19 travel are entitled to a cash refund, and that entitlement will continue to apply. However, it is also the case that many travel agents and tour operators are having severe cash flow problems, and it is not clear that all of them will be able to meet all of their current cash refund obligations and at the same time be able to stay in business”.

 

Minister Ross continued; “These are very difficult days for our tourism industry and for the many travel agencies and tour operators who have seen their businesses face near collapse in recent months. However, it is also financially challenging for people who booked holidays and are entitled to a refund of their investment. The Refund Credit Note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights”.


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