The successful launch this week of Dalata Hotel Group on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges will support local jobs and be a strong boost for suppliers and the tourist industry in Wexford according to Dalata CEO Pat McCann.
Dalata operates three hotels in county Laois – The Portlaoise Heritage, the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort on the Heath under management agreements and - on a long term lease - the Maldron just outside Portlaosie .
While Dalata remains firmly committed to running hotels on management contracts and long-term leases, both for owners directly and for banks or receivers, Mr McCann revealed that to enable growth in future the Group wants to fully own a greater proportion of the hotels it operates.
By listing itself on the stock markets Dalata has raised a fund of €265million which will be used to buy up to 25 hotels throughout the country as they come up for sale from banks, receivers, NAMA and directly from owners who wish to sell.
“There is an air of optimism in the tourism sector. We have seen effective marketing programmes help build visitor numbers steadily year on year across the country. Dalata is already part of making that happen. Government initiatives such as the reduction in VAT and The Gathering have greatly contributed to an improved outlook for the tourism industry. Dalata has a strong emphasis on people development. We encourage people from all backgrounds to look at the hotel sector for career opportunities, and we provide a wide range of training and development courses to assist their career progression.”
Mr McCann continued “Our strategy in the first instance is to acquire 3- and 4-star hotels. We then put a strong emphasis on applying our skills and experience in operating hotels to improve the financial performance of each location. That way we can ensure that each becomes a successful sustainable business in its own right and for the long term. That will be good for our colleagues employed within the hotels and for the local economy in the region.”
Commenting on the prospects for business in the Laois area generally Mr McCann said “We are seeing opportunities for recovery throughout the country and Laois is very much holding its own in that regard being particularly accessible by national transport infrastructure. The Maldron under General manager Bruno Gorisch, the Heritage Portlaoise under General Manager Gemma Jordan and The Heritage Resort and Spa under General Manager Struan Craig are each very different from the other but all add to the market and complement each other. We look forward to opportunities to grow their business working with the wider business and tourist sector in the region”