Coronavirus: Members Update 28 February 2020

28 February 2020

Dear Owner Manager

The Coronavirus has continued to dominate the news agenda this week with local restrictions being placed on travel to eleven towns in northern Italy and a small number of Irish holidaymakers under quarantine in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife. There has been a huge amount of speculation and anxiety about the spread of the virus with the public and our members alike.

I would like to assure you that since the DFA advised against non essential travel to China, the
ITAA has been liaising regularly with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, the Department of Foreign Affairs, various trade suppliers and our members on this crisis.

Our other main priority has been providing accurate advice to the travelling public and providing some perspective to media reports – covering the scale of the issue, consumer rights, the currently very limited nature of travel restrictions in place by the DFA and practical steps people can take to protect themselves.

Over the last week myself and various Board members have conducted at least twenty interviews with national and regional broadcast and print media including: The Sean O’Rourke Show, RTE Radio 1; The Last Word, Today FM; various national radio news bulletins; fifteen regional radio stations and issued proactive statements to print and online media.  We have also provided off line briefings to various journalists, working to ensure accurate measured reporting.

As well as considering the position in relation to the public, we are also mindful of the impact of this situation on each of your businesses. We are in the process of writing to suppliers with proposals to maintain confidence with the travelling public which I hope they will consider. The ITAA will be running a number of proactive advertisements in national print media (INM publications) in the coming week and will be putting forward a positive campaign on social media.  

It would also be prudent for you to consider your own business processes. It is important that business continuity plans, contingency measures and policies are put in place now to protect your business and employees as best possible.

This is a fast moving situation, changing on a day to day, hour by hour basis. It is impossible to say how it will develop but the ITAA will continue to focus its efforts on providing up to date fact-based information so members and customers can make informed decisions.

Please feel free to contact either myself, our President – John Spollen or any of our Board members directly with any concerns you may have.

Warm regards

Pat Dawson

Irish Travel Agents Association