Government will stand over vouchers issued by licenced travel agents

Government will stand over vouchers issued by licenced travel agents
The move guarantees the value of refund credit notes issued by Irish licenced travel agents and tour operators. Pic: iStock

The Irish government is to guarantee credit notes issued by travel agents in an effort to ease pressure on the sector.

Under consumer law, customers are entitled to full a cash refund in a circumstance where a package holiday is cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Where customers agree to accept a voucher instead of cash, the government will now stand over the value of that voucher in any cases where the travel agent or tour operator goes out of business.

Transport Minister Shane Ross had flagged the move previously but signed off on the necessary legal framework on Friday.

He said the government "is determined to save jobs and protect businesses as much as it can, as well as the rights of the hard-pressed consumer".

The move guarantees the value of refund credit notes issued by Irish licenced travel agents and tour operators.

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) welcomed the move.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson said the travel industry remains one of the most damaged parts of the economy, with business down 98% since March.

He said more is needed, though.

"We are calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs for an update on travel advisories and consistency of messaging around DFA travel advice, as many flights continue to operate contrary to travel advice. These inconsistencies will have a detrimental effect on consumer confidence in the travel industry.”

In a submission to the Aviation Task Force earlier this week, the ITAA outlined a number of short-term actions necessary for the recovery of the Irish travel industry, including the removal of the two week quarantine period when entering Ireland, an immediate change to Department of Foreign Affairs guidelines on travel, and increased consistency on travel advice across all Government departments.

The ITAA have also stressed the need to rebuild consumer confidence in travel, stating that there must be a co-ordinated, sustained, and informative set of guidelines for consumers to re-establish confidence for them to restart booking travel and travelling.

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