Regional hotels ‘face UK exit, VAT challenges’

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Regional hotels ‘face UK exit, VAT challenges’

 


(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Regional hotels are facing “serious challenges” despite record numbers of tourists last year, according to lobby group the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).

Among the challenges facing hotels are Brexit and the controversial hospitality sector Vat hike in the last Budget.

Last year, there was around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, up 6pc on 2017.

However, the IHF said regional room occupancy rates were down year-on-year.

In 2018, the average national room occupancy rate for hotels dropped to 72pc, from 74pc the previous year.

While Dublin performed strongly with an average occupancy of 84pc, the rest of the country lagged behind with an occupancy rate of 66pc, which was down 2pc on the previous year.

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn has now warned against complacency in the industry.

He also called for a greater Government focus on the development of rural Ireland.

Speaking on the eve of the IHF’s 81st annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, Mr Fenn said: “We continue to have a two-tiered tourism industry, which Government policy is failing to address.

“There are many areas where tourism remains very seasonal and hospitality businesses struggle to break even during off-peak periods.

“Tourism businesses in these areas still have a substantial amount of lost ground to make up since the downturn,” Mr Fenn added.

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The IHF warned that there is now a risk that rural Ireland will be left behind when the Government’s focus should be on creating the right environment to sustain growth across the entire country.

Irish Independent

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