Summer weather lifting spirits for Mayo hoteliers

Posted in Connect on August 8, 2019.

AFTER tourism figures reached record levels last year, early indications for 2019 from hotels and guesthouses in Mayo and across the country are that it will be challenging for the industry
to maintain the growth of recent years. According to the latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), the fine summer weather has got Irish people out and about on short breaks and staycations, with the market holding and US business levels continuing to rise. However, the continental Europe market shows signs of softening while business levels from the UK market are still falling.  Westport hotelier Darren Madden, chair of the Mayo branch of the IHF, said the heightened risk of a disruptive Brexit is a serious concern for the tourism industry. Other jor concerns highlighted include  reduced competitiveness due to increases in the cost of doing business and the hike in tourism VAT.

Some 62% of IHF members have seen further increases in insurance costs over the last 12 months in addition to substantial increases in recent years. According to the IHF survey, almost two-thirds (64%) of hoteliers say domestic business levels are holding with some reporting increases compared to this time last year. This market is of particular importance to regional tourism, where the recovery has been slower. Said Mr. Madden:

“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. Here in Mayo it supports 5,800 jobs and contributes some €204m to the local economy annually.

“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 Connaught Telegraph 6th August 2019

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