IHF Releases Results Of New Irish Hotel Industry Survey
According to the results of a new industry survey conducted by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Ireland's hotel market is holding and US business levels are continuing to rise.
However, the survey also found that the continental Europe market is showing signs of softening while business levels from the UK market are still falling.
IHF president Michael Lennon said that the heightened risk of a disruptive Brexit is a serious concern.
Costs And VAT Increase
Other major concerns highlighted by those who took part in the survey included reduced competitiveness due to increases in the cost of doing business and the hike in tourism VAT.
The survey found that 62% of IHF members have seen further increases in insurance costs over the past 12 months in addition to substantial increases in recent years. Meanwhile, the VAT increase has led many hoteliers to take a more cautious approach to investment, with over half of those surveyed saying they have either postponed or scaled back their plans.
Domestic And US Business
64% of hoteliers surveyed said that domestic business levels are holding, and some hoteliers reported increases compared to this time last year.
Meanwhile, 38% of the hoteliers surveyed reported increases in business from the US market, but there are signs of a slowdown in growth from continental Europe.
NI And Britain
62% of hoteliers surveyed said they have seen a drop in business levels from Northern Ireland while 73% reported a fall-off from Great Britain.
'The Importance Of Tourism"
Lennon stated, "With the prospect of a prolonged and disruptive Brexit looming, the government must not disregard the importance of tourism. The industry plays a vital role as an engine of growth and regional economic balance, supporting over 266,000 jobs throughout the country, 70% of which are outside Dublin.
"Yet, we continue to have a two-tiered tourism industry, which government policy is failing to address. There are parts of the industry that are performing well, though the rate of growth appears to be slowing. However, not every tourism business or part of the country is enjoying the same level of success. There are many areas where tourism remains very seasonal and hospitality businesses struggle to break even during off-peak periods. These businesses can ill afford to take another economic hit. The government must take decisive action to mitigate the impact of Brexit and address the other serious challenges we face with the high cost of doing business in Ireland.
“Tourism is an exceptionally competitive activity. We compete daily for business at both a domestic and international level, and every tourism euro spent by overseas and domestic tourists in Ireland is hard won. Maintaining our competitiveness is absolutely vital to sustaining the growth of the industry, which supports jobs in every town and county."
Tourism Satellite Account
Following calls from the IHF, the government has committed to the introduction of a Tourism Satellite Account within the Central Statistics Office, and Lennon is urging the government to prioritise its implementation.
He said, "With tourism heading into more difficult times, it is essential that policy makers have a complete and accurate picture of the industry. This account would provide a full analysis of the economic activity in the tourism industry and show how much it contributes to each county throughout the country to inform future taxation and economic policy."
© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.