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Government guarantees credit notes issued by licensed Irish travel agents and tour operators

The Irish Travel Agents Association said the industry has seen a drop of 98% in business over the past three months.

Image: Shutterstock/New Africa

THE GOVERNMENT HAS today confirmed that legal provisions have been made to ensure credit notes from licensed Irish travel agents and tour operators are guaranteed by the State in the event the business becomes insolvent. 

With widespread travel disruption caused following the global lockdown and closure of borders worldwide, travel agents encouraged customers to accept a credit note instead of requesting a refund in a bid to mitigate the financial damage to the industry from Covid-19. 

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport supported the measure and said it would look at guaranteeing credit notes in the event that travel agents suddenly closed.

Today, Transport Minister Shane Ross confirmed the necessary provisions have been made to ensure that customers who receive a credit note will not be left out of pocket.

“The entire travel and tourism industry across Europe has been devastated by the impact of Covid-19, including the many small and medium sized Irish businesses that make up the travel agent and tour operator sector,” he said. 

“I am pleased to announce that refund credit notes issued by Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators will be insolvency protected by the State.

“This means that consumers can agree to accept such credit notes in the knowledge that their money is safe. People are entitled under the law to a cash refund in circumstances where a booking has been cancelled because of Covid-19, but where they can, I urge people to consider accepting a refund credit note instead.”

The Irish Travel Agents Association, which represents more than 100 members, said the industry has seen a 98% drop-off in business since March and welcomed the measure to help it back on its feet in the coming months. 

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Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA said: “For the last three months our member travel agents and tour operators have been under immense pressure both financially and personally as they tried to do what was best for their customers and their livelihood.

“The news that the Government is willing to stand over the Refund Credit Note has brought huge relief within the Irish travel sector, as it is a step in rebuilding our industry as soon as the threat of Covid-19 has passed.”

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