Ireland: locked up like North Korea

By | Category: Travel news

That was the colourful language used by Ryanair to describe the Irish government’s attitude to opening up the travel and tourism industry.

the Lahemaa National Park in Estonia – one of the countries to which the Department of Foreign Affairs says can be visited

It seems that governments around Europe of whatever persuasion are damned if they allow overseas tourism and damned if they don’t.

What brought about this comment from the airline was that the Irish government has decided to follow EU thinking and install a traffic light warning system of which countries its residents will be able to visit.

Ryanair and the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation want more action including a VAT drop, a business rates holiday, rapid testing, a doubling of tourism promotion budgets, wage subsidies and grants. Will this be enough to give confidence to people to travel again? That is to places to which they can without contravening the advice given by the Department of Foreign affairs.

As a start – from next Monday – there will be some additions to the destinations that residents can travel to. This will be based on data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which will be issued each Thursday.

As it stands yesterday, Ireland had a 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100 000 of 48.5.

The plan is that countries or regions with a 14-day cumulative Covid-19 rate under 25 per 100,000, and a positivity rate of less than 3%, will be considered green and therefore open to people to travel there without restrictions in Ireland. That isn’t to say that restrictions might be in place by the destination so thus plan is not necessarily a two-way solution.

Just about Travel will continue to give the latest 14 day figures from the ECDC each Friday after they have been published

Ireland has operated one of the shortest lists of where its residents can travel and, surprise, surprise, this hasn’t gone down well with the travel and tourism industry. The eleven destinations are countries are Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Northern Ireland and Slovakia. Large holiday destinations like Spain, Portugal, Turkey, France and Croatia are omitted as well as the UK other than Northern Ireland despite the fact that for part of the last few weeks the incidence in Ireland has been higher than that of the UK.

But some destinations on the current list could be removed unless there is a drop in numbers. Hungary in particular is in danger of being dropped and ministers will have to seriously consider what to do with Greece, (or some of the islands as the UK government has done) Italy, (in particular Sardinia) Norway and Slovakia.

After next Monday, Ryanair might still think that Ireland is as locked up as North Korea.

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