Hotel revenues have imploded across the country as a result of the Level 3 restrictions that have come into effect, limiting guests to staying within the county they live in over the next three weeks.
Over one million bednights will be lost as a result of Covid restrictions during this period compared to last year. This is having a disastrous impact on the ability of hotels to stay open, with many hotels now facing enormous uncertainty for the remainder of the year and having to decide on whether or not to close.
Hoteliers are calling for emergency intervention by the Government in the form of immediate additional supports directly targeting tourism and hospitality businesses.
Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) chief executive Tim Fenn states: “There is very little difference between Levels 3 and 5 for hotels. Our industry is swimming against the tide and in desperate need of a life-line from the Government. From midnight, hotels and guesthouses will effectively be left with empty properties and next to no ability to generate revenues. This is nothing short of a disaster for our industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by tourism across the country. This must be recognised by the Government with substantial supports in the upcoming budget."
Mr Fenn says prior to Covid-19, tourism and hospitality supported the livelihoods of almost 270,000 people – one in ten jobs, with 70% of them located outside Dublin. "Some 100,000 of these jobs have been lost already and a further 100,000 are at risk. These jobs matter – not only to the people working within the industry but also to the wider economy, especially the many parts of regional Ireland where tourism is the only show in town," he says.
Mr Fenn says additional sector specific measures are urgently required around employment supports, local authority rates waivers, reduced tourism VAT and grants to help businesses survive until the industry can start up again. "The existing supports for the tourism industry are wholly inadequate given the restrictions. We call on the Government to adopt the Tourism Recovery Plan 2020-2023 prepared by the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, including their immediate priority recommendations," he says.
“Tourism is proven to be an engine for economic recovery following the financial crisis and it can be again with the right Government supports. Hotels and guesthouses are a key component of its infrastructure. A failure to support the industry now will have ramifications for the future of Ireland’s tourism offering and for the economy that could take decades to remedy," Mr Fenn adds.