Coronavirus tourism support schemes extended
The schemes, which provide grants and loans to firms that rely on tourists and travel, were due to end this week.
A salary support scheme, which finished for other sectors on 20 September, has also been prolonged until March.
Enterprise minister Lawrence Skelly said the funding was a “clear signal” of commitment to the industry.
He added that the support meant tourism businesses would be “positioned for recovery” when border restrictions were relaxed.
The strategic capacity scheme provides funding to accommodation firms based on their star rating and the number of rooms they have, while the financial assistance scheme pays up to 50% of company overheads.
The business support scheme hands out grants of £3,000 to self-employed people in the tourism sector and the salary support plans pays firms £280 each week for every retained staff member.
Tour bus operator David Midghall said while the measures were “a big help” it was “too early to tell if it will be enough”.
He added it had been difficult not knowing how long restrictions would continue.
Bed and Breakfast owner Nikki Sperring said she had lost 95% of her revenue due to the coronavirus but was grateful for the support.
She added her husband had taken a part-time job as his tour firm was not deemed eligible for funding because his profits where not high enough in the last year, when he was receiving treatment for cancer.
The schemes would help to “cover some of our overheads and get us through to March”, she continued. source