Hoteliers Disappointed with Continued Indoor Hospitality Restrictions
- Sector urges government to reconsider exclusion of indoor hospitality from 60% capacity limit allowed for other indoor events
- IHF forecasts exceptionally slow tourism recovery requiring continued Government supports
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has urged the Government to reconsider the exclusion of indoor hospitality from the 60% capacity limit announced for other indoor events from the 6th September.
IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said: “It is very disappointing to hear that indoor hospitality is excluded from the easing of restrictions for indoor events. We urge the Government to reconsider its position given the track record of hotels in providing safe and controlled environments for indoor hospitality. The numbers of guests permitted should be linked to the capacity of the venue for hospitality gatherings, including wedding, similar to other events. While welcome the broader easing of restrictions, the lack of clarity around indoor hospitality is very concerning.”
Commenting on the ongoing economic impact of Covid for tourism and hospitality, Ms Fitzgerald Kane said: “We have a long road ahead of us, which means that continued government supports are critical in sustaining the livelihoods of Ireland’s 270,000 tourism community. The domestic market was very important last year and again this year. However, it does not replace international visitor numbers. As an island nation international tourism is critically important, accounting for over 70% of tourism revenue pre-COVID, and recovery in this market is not expected to begin in earnest until the second quarter of 2022, which highlights the enormous ongoing challenges facing the hotel and broader tourism sector.
The IHF President called for a firm commitment from the Government on the continuation of business and employment supports. “Tourism was the first sector to close and the longest to reopen. Tourism will recover but it will take time. The supports to date have been very welcome and have been a lifeline for many businesses. However, it is essential that the Government provides certainty around the supports into 2022 so that businesses, particularly those reliant on overseas visitors, can plan for their recovery as they face into the traditional off-peak tourist season, which in Ireland runs from September until May.
Government measures sought by the IHF include a clear commitment to retain the 9% tourism VAT rate until after 2025; extension of the current EWSS employment supports and a commercial rates waiver until June 2022. In addition, substantial additional funding is required for international marketing and restoring the air connectivity which existed in 2019.
“We estimate that almost 30,000 hotel positions will have been restored this summer in addition to the approximately 27,000 hotel jobs retained throughout the crisis. The hotel sector has a vital role to play in ensuring Irish tourism and hospitality returns to a more stable footing over the months ahead– helping to sustain thousands of livelihoods and communities throughout the country.
“Prior to this pandemic, tourism supported almost 270,000 livelihoods, representing 11% of total employment nationally. With 70% of these jobs located outside of Dublin, it makes a vital contribution to communities in every county and town throughout the country. In some communities, tourism is the only show in town. Continued support for the industry must remain to the fore of Government economic policy as we seek to restore employment levels and tourism communities in a sustainable way as quickly as possible,” said Ms Fitzgerald Kane.
Reframing the Challenge
Page 16 – Indoor and Outdoor Dining:
View or download the full document here: Reframing the Challenge – Govt Plan for Reopening – 31 Aug 2021-18