Holidaymakers who cancel trips abroad on the back of advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) should be compensated with vouchers for domestic breaks, according to the chairperson of the government's Covid-19 response committee.
The move would ease the financial burden on holidaymakers who could be set to lose thousands of euro by not using scheduled flights and also serve as a boost for the flailing domestic tourism sector, Independent TD Michael McNamara has said.
He backed calls from consumer advocates who say thousands of holidaymakers are set to lose out on huge sums of money if they listen to Dr Tony Holohan, who has pleaded with people not to travel abroad following an increase in travel-related Covid-19 cases.
It comes as Ryanair ramps up its flight schedule. The airline's CEO Eddie Wilson said those who choose not to travel on scheduled flights are not entitled to a refund.
Mr McNamara told RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney the government should look at compensating people who have cancelled their overseas holiday on the back of the advice of the CMO, and that such people should be given a voucher to the value of their trip so they could, instead, holiday in Ireland.
Dermott Jewell of the Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) said the government needs to establish a fund to compensate holidaymakers who choose not to travel. He said updated advice needs to be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs on whether it is safe to travel as current guidelines are insufficient for consumers.
The CAI said "plain speaking and solid, understandable advice regarding travel" is needed.
"Should we not be expecting a State acknowledgement of the health risk involved in travel and provision of a compensation fund for those who decide to follow the advice of Dr Holohan and not travel? Otherwise, it is the consumer who is paying from the family budget," the CAI said.