Hoteliers Express Deep Disappointment at cut to EWSS
Double blow for hotels sector with business levels wiped out and Government employment supports significantly reduced
- Failure to extend EWSS at current level could have ramifications for entire hospitality sector
- Continued supports are essential for recovery of 270,000 tourism livelihoods
- Hotels reporting a dramatic collapse in event bookings in the lead up to Christmas
- Room occupancy at 35% for December and averaging 13% for January and February according to latest survey
Hotel and guesthouse owners are calling on the Government to reverse the decision to cut EWSS employment supports from today (December 1st). The failure to retain the scheme at November levels is a serious blow to the tourism and hospitality industry at a critical time when bookings for events and social gatherings have collapsed with no sign of recovery. Hotel room occupancy levels are also at near all-time lows for this time of year, with occupancy rates of 35% reported for December and just 13% across in January and February, according to the latest research from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, IHF President states that retention of the EWSS at November levels up until April 2022 is essential to sustain livelihoods. She says: “Against the backdrop of increased restrictions, cancellations and the implications of general public health guidance, it is apparent that the basis for Budget 22 no longer applies. This is a double blow for our sector with business levels wiped out and Government employment supports significantly reduced.”
“It is a major shock to the industry that the decision to reduce employment supports has not been revised to reflect the dismal trading reality in our hotels, guesthouses and broader hospitality and tourism industry. This is all the more acute given that normally December trade sustains the very challenging off-peak months at the start of the new year. It is enormously damaging to hotels and their ability to restore their teams given the extreme financial burden they’re now under.”
Ms Fitzgerald Kane urged the Government to recognise the struggle hoteliers are now facing. “The full reopening of society we had all hoped for has not materialised, and employment supports must reflect this. A commitment must be given to those working in our industry, who are now facing into a very difficult end to 2021, and a very challenging few months ahead. Before this pandemic, over 270,000 livelihoods were supported by the tourism and hospitality sector, equating to 1 in 10 of all Irish jobs, with 70% of these jobs located outside Dublin. These jobs matter, especially in many parts of regional Ireland where tourism is the only show in town, and every action must be taken to sustain them. The Government has worked with us throughout the last 20 months, and failure to act now could see much of this progress undone,” she concluded.
*Survey of IHF members carried out 24-26th November 2021