A new industry survey conducted by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has shown hotel occupancy levels of 23% and 26% for the peak summer months of July and August, respectively, based on confirmed bookings.
This compares to an average of 90% for the same period last year.
Meanwhile, occupancy for September currently stands at 22%.
A Critical Time
IHF president Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said that hotel and guesthouse owners have been heartened by the strong support from people who are taking a staycation this year. However, she said that this continues to be a critical time for the tourism industry and the almost 270,000 livelihoods it supports.
Fitzgerald Kane stated, "Time and again, tourism has proven itself as a hugely successful engine for economic growth, particularly in regional Ireland. In the aftermath of the last recession, tourism created 90,000 new jobs. Last year alone it generated over €9 billion in revenue. We are committed to working closely with the government and with Minister Catherine Martin to safeguard tourism, Ireland's largest indigenous employer, so that it can play a key role again and be a significant lever in the country's economic recovery. However, this requires specific sectoral supports now in relation to liquidity and competitiveness."
Calling For Measures
The IHF is calling on the government to implement the following measures as a matter of urgency:-
- the continuation of the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the inclusion of seasonal employees;
- the linking of the size of gatherings to venue capacity;
- a reduction in tourism VAT to 5% until December 2021 followed by a permanent restoration to 9% to assist recovery and secure a viable and sustainable future for tourism;
- liquidity measures tailored to the specific challenges facing tourism to help businesses survive and restart;
- and an extension of the three-month waiver period for local authority rates and charges for tourism businesses to coincide with business interruption due to COVID-19 and for a minimum of 12 months, after which the IHF said that payment of local authority rates should be based on reduced levels of activity due to the crisis.
© 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.