• Cyril McAree

Irish Travel Agents Association support EU plans to fully reopen internal borders on 15 June

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is calling on the Government and the 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 is no indication of travel restrictions being eased until the 29th of June, despite positive data and metrics from the Chief Medical Officer.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson stated, “There is no basis for maintaining the advice against travel when every other industry is opening up in Ireland. 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 easing travel restrictions will further hurt our industry, as Irish customers will be forced to wait to book their holidays. This will drastically slow the recovery of the Irish travel sector. The rest of the EU are looking at opening up their borders for international travel, but the Irish Government appear to be hesitating and causing a delay in returning to normal economic activity. Inbound and outbound travel goes hand in hand, and 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”

He continued, “The Taoiseach has previously discussed the possibility of air travel resuming this summer, initially through the use of ‘air bridges’ with countries that are deemed to have the COVID-19 pandemic under control. We welcome the idea of these air bridges, and have been discussing this as an option with a number of Tourist Boards from other countries. Naturally, the safety and wellbeing of our customers our top priority, however the introduction of air bridges would allow for safe, controlled travel both in and out of Ireland and would help to revive the Irish travel sector.”

The ITAA is asking the NPHET and the Department of Foreign Affairs to reconsider guidelines on travel restrictions for Irish travellers as soon as possible, to allow for a return to international travel in line with current COVID-19 safety measures. The Association believes that an earlier return to international travel is possible, provided all passengers obey strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

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