A new nationwide €55 million investment by Fáilte Ireland will provide a welcome boost for tourism businesses across Laois.
So says Laois TD Charlie Flanagan after the funding for the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme was secured in Budget 2021 with Fáilte Ireland being responsible for developing and administering the scheme.
The first phase of the €55million Tourism Business Continuity Scheme opens for applications on February 11 to businesses including outdoor activity providers such as Bike tours, Surf Schools, Kayaking tours, Angling, tourist boat tour operators, Hop on Hop off Bus tours with onboard tourism experiences, walking tours, instructor led/guided tourism equestrian experiences and golf courses with a tourism offering.
It also includes visitor attractions that are not eligible for Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) such as attractions with charity/not for profit status or that are primarily outdoor attractions, Caravan and camping providers registered with Fáilte Ireland and Cruise Hire companies who meet the eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for the scheme, a business’ monthly turnover from October 2020 to January 2021 must be less than 25% of its average monthly turnover in 2019.
The business must also have a minimum annual turnover of €50,000 and minimum fixed costs of 10% of turnover; the business must not be eligible to apply for CRSS or have received funding through the Fáilte Ireland Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme or Ireland Based Inbound Agents Business Continuity Scheme.
The minimum grant is €3,750 and the maximum grant is €200k.
Mr Flanagan said: “The scheme will support those tourism businesses that were not eligible for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) payment or previous Fáilte Ireland continuity grant schemes.
“I am confident this will have a positive impact on the industry across Laois and will be key to helping it survive and thrive in the year ahead.
“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.”
Full details and eligibly criteria will be available on the Failte Ireland website from February 11 2021.
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.
Deputy Flanagan said: “Amongst its key projects for 2021, Fáilte Ireland has also committed to the enhancement of urban areas through the 31 Destination Town projects across the country and two new funding schemes.
“The Outdoor Dining Grant Scheme will improve the quality of outdoor dining spaces and offer reassurance around safety and comfort, and the Urban Animation Grant Scheme will animate our cities and towns with innovative lighting and art installations.
“Fáilte Ireland has also committed to preparing for the return of tourism by working with industry to build improved websites and online booking capability through a new digital transformation programme and continuing to keep Ireland front of mind for overseas buyers through a range of virtual sales events, including Meitheal, one of Ireland’s largest travel trade shows.”