Irish Travel Agents Association support the lifting of the non-essential travel ban

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has welcomed recommendations contained in an interim report from the specially convened Aviation Recovery Taskforce, stating that restrictions on non-essential travel in and out of Ireland should be lifted by July 1st. The ITAA also supports the Taskforce’s suggestion that incoming travellers to Ireland should not be required to self-isolate for a two-week period after they arrive.

The Association is in agreement with the recommendations made in the report, which was convened by the Government two weeks ago to set out advice on the necessary actions to assist the Irish travel sector to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The interim report warns that although Ireland has had the “equivalent or even better success” in containing COVID-19, it is significantly behind other EU countries in lifting restrictions on air passenger travel. The Association believes that an earlier return to international travel is possible, provided all passengers obey strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson stated, “We are now significantly behind other EU member states in lifting travel restrictions, despite positive metrics from the NPHET. The travel sector has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are concerned that we will be the last industry to get a restart date. This delay in lifting travel restrictions will further hurt our industry, as Irish customers will be forced to wait to book their holidays, which will in turn drastically slow the recovery of the Irish travel sector.”

He continued, “The fourteen day quarantine period will also have a negative economic effect on the travel sector, as well as other sectors such as tourism and hospitality. Using contact tracing measures is a much more beneficial solution, as this will allow for the recovery of these valuable industries. It is important to remember the symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound travel; by easing travel restrictions within the EU this we could work to repair some of the damage done by COVID-19 to the Irish travel sector.”

The ITAA has previously called on the Government and NPHET to move forward on lifting travel restrictions to allow travel to resume to certain countries within the EU. The ITAA are disappointed that there has still been no indication of travel restrictions being eased, despite success in containing the coronavirus.

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