Three travel agencies and one tour operator have advised the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) that they do not intend to renew their licences as from 1 November 2020. Meanwhile, six agencies have already gone out of business since the Covid-19 pandemic began and three more agencies decided not to renew their licences from 1 April 2020.
A total of 80 travel agent licences are due for renewal from 1 November in the autumn round and, to date, 76 have submitted renewal applications, three have advised the CAR that they do not intend to renew their licences, and the intention of the remaining one is currently not known.
Of the 18 tour operator licences due for renewal in the autumn round, 17 have submitted renewal applications and one has advised the CAR that it does not intend to renew its licence.
The deadline for receipt by the CAR of completed licence applications at the standard fee was 14 August. The CAR aims to issue decision-in-principle letters for applications made by the 14 August deadline by 14 September. The deadline for receipt by the CAR of applicant bonds for a licence to be granted is 16 October.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, six travel agencies have had to cease trading: Rathgar Travel (11 March), East West Travel (16 March), USIT Ireland (27 March), Flyaway Travel (24 April), Planet Travel (15 May), and King Travel (2 September).
Add in the three agencies that chose not to continue from 1 April and the three that will not be renewing their licences from 1 November and the pandemic has already resulted in the closure of 12 travel agencies in the Republic of Ireland.
In addition to these agency closures, whether they have been by necessity or choice, many – if not most – of the travel agencies that remain open have been making, or plan to make, staff redundant due to the Government’s lack of adequate financial support.
A significant reduction in that support came into effect on 1 September with the change from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, under which the maximum level of support was €410 per worker per week, to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, under which the maximum level of support has fallen to €203 per worker per week.