Assembly Written Question 12694/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will bring forward a COVID-19 financial support package for the Northern Ireland travel sector, specifically travel agents and tour operators.
Answer: My Department has led the delivery of the £10k and £25k business grants and other financial packages of support since March 2020. Many Travel Agents and others within this sector have been eligible for one or more of these provisions. Travel Agencies operating in retail premises have also benefitted from 100% rates holiday for 12 months in 2020/21. Businesses employing staff would also have been eligible for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whilst self-employed Travel Agents or Tour Operators would also have been able to claim for lost revenue through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. I fully appreciate that the travel industry has been impacted particularly hard by the pandemic, both locally and on a global scale. I have met with representatives of the travel industry and am supportive of a specific financial support package being developed for the industry. However, any decisions on further specific support measures for the NI Travel sector must be agreed by the Executive collectively.