Alliance Economy spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has welcomed a major support package which has been announced for travel agents.
The £1.175 million scheme will provide support to travel agents for eventual reopening, and adjusting to the challenges of the pandemic. It will include a flat payment of £10,000 for businesses operating from retail premises and £3,500 for self-employed travel agents working from home.
“Our travel agency sector is vital to our economy and high streets, and has faced a terrible year of cancellations and restrictions,” said East Antrim MLA Mr Dickson.
“I have been campaigning for support for our travel agency sector for some time and this support is welcome, despite the long delay. Although the amount provided is unlikely to cover the serious losses seen, I hope it will help to secure the sector and jobs for eventual reopening and recovery.
“I do have questions, however, as to why it has taken so long, and why this scheme is not being delivered by the Department for the Economy, which usually delivers businesses support – I hope it will not lead to delays in the scheme.
“Nonetheless, due to the short amount of time before the end of the financial year, the Executive Office must act quickly to ensure a smooth roll out of this support to protect businesses and jobs in the sector. I would also encourage eligible travel agents to apply as soon as possible, as the scheme is only open for one week from March 19.”