The Holiday at Home plan has been scrapped as are other options

The £2m Holiday at Home voucher scheme has now been scrapped, with other ways to support the tourism industry instead, reveals the Belfast Telegraph.

The scheme was intended to give families in Northern Ireland a £100 voucher for a two-night stay in post-paid accommodation, or a £20 voucher for a visit to a tourist attraction.

NS department for economy stated that it was looking at the suitability of the scheme in light of strong summer business, and the potential expense that could go into tourism from the £145m local retail voucher scheme.

Asked if and when the scheme would be launched, a spokesman for the department said: “The minister is committed to doing what he can to assist the tourism and hospitality sector as they continue to deal with the impact of the pandemic.

“The idea is how to best provide that support.”

It is understood that the funds intended for the scheme are included in the unused fund of £41m being dedicated to the Executive by DfE.

Both the Holiday Scheme and the Spend Local Scheme were part of the Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan (ERAP).

Colm McLornan, co-owner of the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle, said the department had “overpromised” the plan, which was first discussed last year and was to be launched in the autumn.

“We’ve been hearing that it’s been a long time coming, and obviously it’s nowhere to be found at this stage,” he said.

“We are disappointed that this is not happening because we were banking on this to encourage mid-week migration in January, February and March when it can be quiet and a hard sell.

“But the department may have initially promised more on this through both the retail voucher scheme and the Holiday at Home scheme.

“In fact, we have inspired many people to use £100 vouchers at hotels, and we are encouraged by that.”

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