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Irish travel agents urge government to back EU Covid-19 certificates

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is calling for the “swift implementation” of the EU Covid-19 certificate in the Republic of Ireland.

The EU Parliament voted last week to approve the certificates, formerly known as digital green certificates, which will be law by June and must be introduced by all EU member states within six weeks.

The ITAA will present its case to the Joint Oireachtas (National Parliament) Committee on Transport today (May 5).

It will also urge the Irish government to relax restrictions preventing international travel “in order to restore consumer confidence and to set about rebuilding the Irish travel industry”.

Pat Dawson, ITAA chief executive, said: “There are a number of issues affecting our industry as a direct result of Covid-19, so we are pleased to have an opportunity to present to the Joint Oireachtas Committee to outline our concerns for our customers and member travel agents alike, and begin formulating a plan for a safe return to international travel.

“It is essential that we engage with the proposed EU legislation on digital green Certificates to avoid falling behind other EU member states and causing further problems down the line when it comes to restarting our industry.

“We must also begin to unwind the current restrictions which are limiting inbound and outbound tourism and examine current measures which may act as a deterrent for international travel such as high costs associated with PCR testing.”

Irish agents are also concerned about credit card companies requesting substantial cash deposits from agencies.

Dawson added: “There is a six to nine-month delay between booking and travel which means that our sector must work for six to nine months before we actually count the income generated from advance bookings.

“The issue of merchant service providers seeking high cash deposits from travel agents is at odds with the current bonding and licensing arrangements put in place by government to protect travel agents.

“We are calling on government to address this issue immediately to avoid another blow to our industry after such a difficult year.”

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