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Voucher scheme for off-peak tourism season part of the Budget negotiations, says minister

The Stay and Spend scheme was under utilised due to the continuous Covid-19 restrictions, said Minister Catherine Martin.

It is proposed the new voucher scheme would replace last year’s Stay and Spend scheme.
It is proposed the new voucher scheme would replace last year’s Stay and Spend scheme.
Image: Shutterstock/Patryk Kosmider

A VOUCHER THAT could be used to boost tourism during the off-peak season could be given the green light in Budget negotiations go well for Tourism Minister Catherine Martin.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of a trial nightclub event at the Button Factory in Dublin, the minister was asked if a €100 or €200 voucher could be given to people to spend on tourism and hospitality this winter.

The minister replied that there is a lot to be considered in the Budget, but confirmed it is “one of the issues they are looking at”. 

She said her department is currently engaged in Budget negotiations with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath, but said it was one of the asks. 

The Government’s Stay and Spend Scheme allowed taxpayers to claim a maximum of €125 back in tax credits on their spending in the hospitality sector from 1 October until 30 April. To qualify for the maximum amount, you had to spend €625.

But because there was only a short window during that time when hospitality was open, due to severe Covid-19 restrictions and a devastating third wave of Covid-19 in the New Year, the scheme was curtailed.

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The minister said there was an underspend when it came to the Stay and Spend Scheme due to the “stop start nature” and continuous restrictions. 

She said that scheme never gained “traction”, but with the Budget next month, Martin said she is “open to all options” especially if such a voucher scheme could be utilised “during the off-peak season”. 

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