A new scheme to help drive sales in the hospitality sector across Donegal and the rest of Ireland has been launched.
The scheme aims to help hotels, restaurants and other outlets which have been negatively affected as a result of Covid-19.
The Stay and Spend scheme will enable people to claim back 20% from their bill, up to a maximum of €125 per person (or €250 for a married couple) in an income tax rebate to those who spend up to €625 (or €1,250 for married couples) in restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&Bs and other qualifying businesses.
It will operate from autumn of this year to spring of next year, and includes the Christmas period.
Catherine Martin, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, is encouraging people to support their local coffee shops, restaurants and hotels while they avail of the scheme.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, she said people spending between €25 euro and €625 can get money back by submitting their receipts to the Revenue Receipts Tracker app.
Ms Martin said the relief can be claimed on spending incurred from 1 October and 31 December 2020 in the 2020 tax year, while money spent between 1 January and the 30 April can be claimed back in the 2021 tax year.
“I don’t see it as being that complicated actually. You dine in a restaurant, or you stay in a hotel. You have your Revenue Receipts tracker app. You take a photo of the receipt. You send it in and that’s it.
“Revenue will take care of everything after that. All we ask is that businesses become part of this registering now with Revenue.”
Minister Martin said a voucher scheme would have taken too long to implement when businesses need the support “ready to go in October.”
She said the Stay and Spend scheme encourages additional spend, when a voucher would have encouraged consumers to spend only the value of the voucher.
The tourism sector “needs immense support” added Ms Martin.
The Minister said she is in constant engagement with members of the arts, music and sport sectors, as she believes they are “best placed to find the best way to address public health safety concerns.
“We need to think outside the box to open up these events in a safe manner.”
In relation to travel and the possibility of Covid-19 testing at airports, Minister Martin said: “If more extensive testing is needed to open up connectivity then that has to be considered.”