Hotels and guesthouses in Roscommon are seeking the urgent support of local TDs to help save Irish tourism and secure the livelihoods of thousands of people employed across the country.
Michael Yates, Chair, Roscommon Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation said: “Safeguarding public health is an absolute priority for us, and this must go hand-in-hand with ensuring we have a viable economy to return to after the crisis. The health and well-being of our people is intertwined with the economy.
“People will need livelihoods when this is all over – including the 260,000 people across the country who, up until recently, were employed in tourism and hospitality. This represents 11% of total employment nationally.
“It is also important to note that 70% of these jobs are outside of Dublin which highlights the regional contribution of tourism. Over 100,000 have already been laid off and it is deeply regrettable that many more will follow in the coming days.
“Tourism makes a vital economic contribution to our local economy here in Roscommon and, up until last week, it supported 1,100 jobs and generated €46 million in local tourism revenues annually. Within a short number of weeks, we have seen revenues plummet by up to 100% across the sector. Tourism businesses have now closed with thousands of people being laid off on a daily basis across the country. We must do everything within our power to ensure that these closures are temporary.
“The challenges we now face are existential and far greater than anything we went through during the financial crisis. We require extraordinary measures and political leadership right now to ensure these closures and layoffs are temporary. That is why the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has called on the Government to act extremely quickly to ensure that large parts of our economy, including tourism, are not obliterated by the current crisis”.
He said that for those businesses most affected, including those that have closed, local authority rates must be waived until the crisis is over.
“Cash flow in particular is the killer of businesses in crises like this, and we have called on the Government to implement measures that will assist with cash flow now as well as reducing the rates of tourism VAT and employer’s PRSI to zero for the duration of the crisis”.