• Cyril McAree

Almost 9 In 10 Hotels Plan To Re-open By Mid-July Says Survey Of Over 300 Hoteliers

Almost 9 in 10 hoteliers across the country are readying themselves to reopen for guests by mid-July according to an industry survey* undertaken by the Irish Hotels Federation. The survey of over 300 hoteliers was taken following the Government’s decision to bring forward the re-opening date of hotels to the 29th June and the publication of operational guidelines by Fáilte Ireland.

With up to 90% of hotels having closed as a result of covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the industry is now implementing operating procedures to ensure everyone stays safe and guests can look forward to an enjoyable stay in an Irish hotel or guesthouse this year. A wide range of staycation packages are being developed to look after the many Irish residents who will not be travelling abroad for their holiday this year.

Tim Fenn, CEO of the Irish Hotels Federation says: “It is really encouraging to see that 87% of hotels now intend to reopen by mid-July. We face a serious challenge however in terms of making up ground due to lost overseas business as highlighted by our survey. For the peak summer month of August, members project an average occupancy of 38% this year compared with an average occupancy of 90% for the same month last year – representing an enormous drop in projected business levels. Irish tourism’s heavy dependence on overseas markets and tour groups means there is plenty of availability for those hoping to enjoy a break in an Irish hotel or guesthouse this summer.”

Hoteliers were asked about the measures they want to see from Government to assist in the sector’s recovery. The wage subsidy scheme (TWSS) and the requirement for a reduced tourism VAT rate were cited as the two most important supports necessary for the sector. “The findings demonstrate the critical importance of Government support for the hotels sector in order to ensure the survival and long-term financial stability of tourism businesses.”

“Further action is required by Government to put in place sector specific supports for the tourism sector to aid the recovery. The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is helping businesses to keep their teams together during these financially challenging times. It should be continued for as long as the impact of Covid-19 restrictions remain and it should be extended to cover seasonal employees.

Reducing the tourism VAT rate on a permanent basis would assist recovery and secure a viable and sustainable future for tourism. International competitiveness is an urgent issue for Irish tourism with hotel VAT now higher than 28 European countries we compete with,” concluded Mr Fenn.

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