The summer months are key for the Irish hospitality industry.
But with just 22% of hotel rooms booked for July and August 2021, Cork hoteliers have called on the Government to lift the ban on inter-country travel and provide a detailed roadmap for the next steps out of lockdown.
“With June just over a month away, hotel bookings nationally are at a historic low, currently averaging only 22% for the key months of July and August,” said Fergal Harte, Chair of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
“It is critical that the Government gives clarity to consumers and businesses as a matter of urgency.”
The IHF is asking the Government to outline a plan safely based on clear progress markers for restrictions to be eased in line with public health improvements.
“While we recognise the challenges around public health and suppressing Covid that it is facing, the ongoing lack of detail is jeopardising the viability of hotels and guesthouses as they grapple with the financial and operational commitments required to be ready to reopen after months of prolonged closure,” added Mr Harte.
— Mary Irwin (@emcirwin) March 25, 2021
‘Open the doors to all patrons’
The Irish Hotels Federation is calling for the Government to commit to open hotels to all patrons, whether residents or not.
They are also asking for events capacity to be linked to function room size and outdoor capacity to be linked to space available as well as plans for the easing of restrictions for family gatherings such as weddings and christenings.
“We also require a commitment on business and employment supports. While the supports to date have been very welcome, it is essential that the Government provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond. Wait and see is not the approach for sustainable business planning and job recovery,” said Mr Harte.
Before the pandemic, Cork’s tourism industry supported 25,300 jobs and contributed €895 million to the local economy.
“With over 160,000 tourism jobs lost over the last year, including many here in Cork, recovery of tourism and hospitality must be to the fore of Government economic policy as we seek to restore employment levels as quickly as possible,” added Mr Harte.