Dalata Hotel Group CEO Pat McCann has said that he is optimistic about the prospects for domestic tourism this year and has predicted that it will perform strongly, particularly in rural areas, as the country begins to reopen over the coming months.
According to McCann, the focus of the tourism sector in 2021 will be on rebuilding businesses, but it will likely be 2023 before there is a return to fully normal trading.
Speaking to broadcaster and journalist Richard Curran as part of The EY Podcast series, McCann said, "People will have an opportunity to get away [in 2020] in an Irish context, and I think they will take full advantage of the fantastic country that we have...we could be quite surprised as to how well Irish people take [domestic holidays] up."
McCann also said that Ireland can expect only domestic tourists in 2020 on both the corporate and leisure sides of business, and that it is "highly unlikely" that Dalata will do anything in the US in the short or medium terms, but that opportunities may arise in Europe and construction on 11 new hotels with 3,000 rooms in Ireland and the UK will continue.
Additionally, McCann stated that he believes that rural areas that are almost entirely dependent on tourism, typically those that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, may do better than some urban areas in the initial reopening phase because "people want to spend time in wide, open spaces over the summer."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.