Hotels Seeing Uplift In Summer Bookings, IHF Reports
Hotels in certain parts of the country are starting to see an uplift in bookings for July and August, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has said, following the recent government announcement that it may consider opening hotels and guesthouses in June.
According to the IHF, booking levels are averaging 23% in July and 21% in August, with the group's chief executive, Tim Fenn, encouraging would-be holidaymakers to plan their holidays and breaks early, amidst positive developments around the vaccine rollout.
However, he warned that there is still a "long way to go" before hotel occupancy reaches the levels of last summer, let alone previous years.
"Recovery will be a challenge for the hotel sector this year, requiring continued Government support through to 2022, when the tourism industry should start to recover in earnest," he said.
Staycations were a popular trend last summer, and the IHF is expecting booking levels to "continue to rise" over the coming weeks, particularly in coastal areas and tourism destinations catering for families.
"We are seeing an uplift in traditional holiday destinations such as Cork, Kerry and Wexford," he said. "However, we would encourage people to explore all parts across the country, as they did last year. There is excellent value available."
Fenn reiterated that it is "essential" that the government provides clarity on the level to which business supports will be available for the remainder of the year and into next year, as hotels look to restore employment levels. More than 65,000 people across Ireland were employed in the hotel and guesthouse sector before COVID-19 restrictions, according to the IHF.
“Specifically, we are seeking increases in payments under the COVID Restrictions Supports Scheme (CRSS), enhanced employment subsidies, extension of the local authority rates waiver until the end of March next year," he said.
"We also ask the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure they have appropriate supports and engagement processes in place for hotels and their team members until COVID-19 has been suppressed.”
Retaining the 9% tourism VAT rate is also essential in securing a viable and sustainable future for the industry, the IHF said.
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