The Irish Travel Industry Trade Show took place in the RDS to a large number of travel professionals from across the country. Cormac Meehan, President, Irish Travel Agents Association, said: “The Irish travel industry has faced many challenges in the last 12 months, including the collapse of Lowcostholidays, uncertainty in the implementation and direction of the EU Package Travel Directive (EPTD), and results of the Brexit Referendum. We have been calling on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to meet with us to review the legislation around this issues and work on the next steps to secure the future of this sector.”
Following the collapse of Lowcostholidays last summer, almost 4,200 Irish customers have made claims to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) amounting to €3.8m. These claims will be covered by the Travellers’ Protection Fund, which has a fund of €5m made up of contributions from tour operators and administered by the commission, as the Irish division of Lowcostholidays was bonded for just €79,243. The ITAA has called on the government to review the legislation around bonding among travel providers in Ireland and implement a collective bond among all travel agents, tour operators and airlines to ensure the protection of Irish consumers.
Meehan continued, “The ITAA is working closely with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators Association (ECTAA) on the issues of the EU Package Travel Directive (EPTD) and Brexit. However, we also need government support. Outbound travel employs over 4,500 people and contributes greatly to the Irish economy.”
The President of the ITAA concluded his opening speech by acknowledging the growth in the sector despite these challenges, “This year’s trade show, with over 140 exhibitors, exemplifies the prosperity in the market and this is down to the hard work and collaboration of our travel professionals and the growing number of Irish consumers who value our role.”