Stay and Spend Incentive Favours Hotels and Restaurants – Michael Healy Rae, TD

Deputy Michael Healy Rae raises a current ‘Let’s Talk Tourism’ topic with his inquiry into the ‘Stay and Spend’ incentive. The main pictured is of a 2018 Lets Talk Tourism promotion launch involving from left: Margaret O’Connor, Head of Business Banking AIB Kerry, Ciara O’Grady, Lets Talk Tourism, Michael Rosney, Skal International, Niamh O’Shea IHF Kerry, Joan McCarthy, Kerry County Council and Paul O’Neil Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Photograph: Sally MacMonagle

Deputy Michael Healy Rae has called on the Government to open the ‘Stay and Spend’ incentive to non-registered Bord Failte businesses once revenue can confirm that they are a trading tourist business.

The scheme, which came into being on October 1st and will run to April 30th 2021, is to encourage people to spend money on accommodation and food in Ireland.

Businesses Excluded from Scheme

However, figures provided the revenue commissioners to the Kerry TD show that only 171 Kerry businesses are currently registered to offer the incentive which allows people to claim back an income tax credit of €125 per person or up to €250 for a jointly assessed couple if they, spend either €625 single or a joint sum of €1,250.

Scheme Favours Bord Failte Approved B&B

“Only this week I got a call from a well-established Bed and Breakfast who have been in business for over 20 years and they were devastated that they did not qualify as they were not Bord Fáilte approved.

“I fear that this is a story that is repeated in most parts of Kerry. Not alone is this going to hurt them financially, it will also lead to some customers having a smaller scope of where they can visit, stay and spend,” Deputy Healy Rae said.

Minimum Spend of €25 

“Under the terms of the incentive, you must spend a minimum of €25 in a single transaction on qualifying expenditure and submit the receipt to revenue.

“You can submit receipts up to a total of €625, or €1,250 for a jointly-assessed married couple Revenue will provide an income tax credit of up to €125 per person, or up to €250 for a jointly-assessed married couple.

Hotels And Restaurants Favoured 

“Having researched the current Kerry businesses that offer the incentive only three are registered B&Bs with a further 13 guesthouses while the majority are made up of hotels and restaurants.

“I just feel that considering that Kerry is the tourism capital of Ireland that the 171 business currently registered is a very small return.

“As many people favour a small Bed and Breakfast at times over bigger accommodation, I think there should be a greater choice so that all tourism related businesses can share in the scheme to help them to survive,” said Deputy Healy Rae.