Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce has hailed the Budget 2021 provision to reduce VAT for tourism from 13.5% to nine percent as very positive and welcome – but stressed that it was an absolutely essential decision that had to be made in the circumstances.

Chamber President, Paul Sherry, said the fact that the revised rate will come into force on November 1 and will remain in place until December 2021 is encouraging and it puts the building blocks in place to allow the devastated tourism industry to begin what will undoubtedly be a slow and difficult recovery from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is really good news for our hotels, guesthouses and all others involved in tourism which is Killarney’s lifeblood,” he said.

“The saving will be passed on to customers and, hopefully, it will help to attract more people to visit and socialise in the town and the county of Kerry where the welcome mat is always at the door and where tourism is our proven speciality.”

The Chamber has also welcomed the new scheme for businesses which closed because of COVID-19 with the Government to make a payment, to a maximum of €5,000 per week, based on 2019 average weekly turnover.

The scheme is effective from now until the end of March next year with the first payments due in mid-November. It will operate while Level 3 restrictions are in place and it will cease when they are lifted but if restrictions are extended, a subsequent claim can be made.

“Overall, in a very difficult year for everybody, with unprecedented pressures, there was much to welcome and some real nuggets of good news in Budget 2021. We in Chamber were particularly pleased with the €55 million for a tourism business support scheme, €5 million for tourism product development and the forward-thinking but essential move that will result in commercial rates being waived for remainder of 2020.”