Longford's tourism industry to reap rewards of Covid lockdown exit, argue ministers

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Longford tourism should be higher up  the economic strategy agenda

Tourism bosses are pinning their hopes last night's decision to expedite the country's reopening will kickstart the industry

Tourism chiefs believe the Government's unexpected move towards hastening the country's reawakening from Covid-19 restrictions will prove pivotal in breathing new life into a beleaguered tourism sector.

Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Brendan Griffin T.D., Minister of State for Tourism and Sport welcomed the announcement from An Taoiseach of the Government’s decisions to implement all elements of Phase 2 of the Roadmap for reopening society and business and in particular the decision to bring forward the actions in the remaining phases.

The tourism sector has been severely impacted by COVID-19 with international tourism ceased and domestic activity restricted. This has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of thousands of citizens.

Industry experts hope the Government’s announcement of the  re-opening of hotels, restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums from 29th of June will give a much needed boost to tourism businesses and their employees.

Making it possible for bars that also operate as restaurants to reopen on 29 June will also allow those businesses to generate much needed revenue and provide employment.   All of these measures will coincide with the removal of domestic travel restrictions all together.

Minister Ross said: “I am acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 has had on the tourism sector and that the recovery of the sector will take longer than many others. This announcement is a welcome boost to tourism businesses and workers and follows the recent establishment of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce which is continuing to meet to explore actions required for implementation over the next 3 years to assist recovery in this vital sector to our economy.”

Minister of State Brendan Griffin said: “The acceleration of the Roadmap has been made possible thanks to the high level of compliance with social distancing and hygiene measures by the public and the sacrifices made by all sectors including tourism and hospitality.

"I know that Fáilte Ireland have been working with the tourism industry to prepare for the revival of activity and I look forward to publication of guidelines for reopening next week. The Government’s announcement yesterday gives tourism and hospitality enterprises a fighting chance for the second half of 2020 and we all need to do our best now to support our own and help them in their time of need. ”