Irish hotels and guesthouses in regional tourism areas are seeing a disappointing start to the summer season, according to the latest Irish Hotels Federation (IHF). In a Quarterly Barometer Report there was increased business in urban areas, but showed poorer performances across the rest of the country.
Nationally, 55% of hoteliers have seen an increase in business compared with this time last year, with Dublin, Cork and Galway seein increased activity concentrated around business and event tourism. However, outside the main urban areas, the anticipated upturn in tourism has failed to materialise with occupancy levels lagging in many seasonal hotels and resorts, particularly along the west coast.
In the barometer business gave their outlook for the next twelve months, 50% of hoteliers indicated they are optimistic; this compares to 64% with an optimistic outlook this time last year.
Results of the survey showed an overwhelmingly positive response to the Government’s decision to retain the 9% tourism VAT rate which is providing a vital lifeline for many businesses in the sector. 93% of hoteliers said the measure will continue to have a positive impact on business into 2013 while 50% say they are likely to take on additional staff over the next year as a direct result.
Tim Fenn, Chief Executive, IHF states that, despite an actual decline in visitor numbers for the first five months of the year, hoteliers had been optimistic for an upturn in business this summer but this has not materialised outside the large cities. He says: “Performance has been patchy at best and we’re now expecting business levels to be flat in many parts of the country which is severely disappointing given the very low visitor base we’re working off at 30% less than the peak in 2007