Urgent supports needed for Experience Economy

December 02, 2021

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has called on Government to urgently step up financial supports for organisations within the Experience Economy who are continuing to struggle in the face of ongoing Covid restrictions. This includes immediately reversing the decision to cut the rate of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). 

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “While business recognises its role in supporting the suppression of the Covid virus, such compliance has meant that the Experience Economy has borne the brunt of the devastating economic impact of Covid.

“Much of the Irish economy has been incredibly robust to the challenge posed by Covid, something that we expect to see reflected in this evening’s latest Exchequer figures. Government must urgently tap into these resources and provide a much-needed safety net for those concentrated pockets of businesses struggling in the Experience Economy. 

“It is clear that the latest concerns around Covid have seen consumers grow more cautious and many businesses have seen a collapse in their bookings for the crucial revenue-generating festive period. Ibec has previously written to Government warning that failure to provide the necessary supports risks inducing mass closures and job losses across the country.”

Business is calling on Government specifically for:

An extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme beyond April 2022 as this remains the single most effective fiscal support measure for businesses and maintenance of the payment level at the rates which applied in the previous Covid waves: 
The €4 billion contingency fund identified in Budget 2022 is allocated as soon as necessary to provide continuity in fiscal support for businesses which remain impacted by Covid-19: 
Targeted extension of the commercial rates waiver for businesses impacted by Covid restrictions into 2022: 
Revenue continues to take a reasonable position on debt warehousing and extends timelines to reflect any extension of restrictions – so Period 1 end date moves from 31 December 2021 to April 30, 2022, and pro-rata on Period 2 and 3: 
Extension of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) for those businesses again impacted by the latest public health restrictions:
Delivering ongoing low cost and long maturity State backed loan schemes to ensure that firms seeking to recover post Covid are not hindered by significant and unsustainable debt burdens. 

The Experience Economy encompasses hospitality, retail, travel, food, drink, tourism, entertainment, technology, events and organisations in the arts, cultural, sporting and heritage sectors. It reaches deep into the supply chain supporting business and employment encompassing many of hard to reach but critical elements of the economy and society: young people, small medium enterprises, regional and rural development, with real, tangible benefits for the Shared Island.

Pre-Covid, the Experience Economy employed over 420,000 on the island of Ireland, with every 100 jobs here supporting an additional 40 elsewhere in the economy. In addition, €4bn is spent by the Experience Economy every year on purchases of goods and services across the domestic and global economy.