Hotels are losing 19 million room nights during the pandemic as revenue has fallen by half


The pandemic has reduced hotel stays by 19 million in the past two years and cut industry revenue by almost half.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) predicts the sector will not recover for “several years” and is calling for the sector’s 9 per cent VAT rate to be extended beyond September if it is to return to its pre-pandemic rate of 13.5 pc.

Hoteliers have also called on the government to help curb rising energy, insurance, waste and tariff costs.

Hotels and B&Bs had an average occupancy rate of 33 per cent (or 7.7 million beds) last year – in Dublin it fell to 25 per cent.

This compares to an average of 73 percent (or 16.7 million beds) in 2019. The total number of beds available nationwide is around 23 million.

In the first two months of 2022, average occupancy increased slightly to 38 percent, compared to 63 percent for the same period in 2019 — a difference of almost a million room nights.

According to an IHF survey, bookings for the holiday months of June to September this year are just 39 percent, compared to 88 percent for the same period in 2019.

“The past two years have been the most challenging in the history of the Irish hotel and guesthouse sector,” said IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane.

“Before Covid, we welcomed over 10 million overseas visitors to our country annually, supporting jobs and livelihoods in every town and village across the country. The scale of the decimation of the entire sector is unprecedented.

“While we are optimistic about the future, the pace of recovery is disappointingly slow.”

Tourism supports 270,000 jobs in Ireland – equivalent to 11% of total employment – 70% of which are outside Dublin.

Hotels and guesthouses have reported annual cost increases of 88 percent for energy, 22 percent for water and 18 percent for food and beverage prices.

A third of properties (35 percent) were struggling to get insurance coverage, the IHF said, with costs rising 20 percent year-on-year.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane said 68 per cent of hoteliers are positive for the year ahead despite the fall in numbers but urged the government to step in and offer support.

“Rebuilding tourism to pre-Covid levels is the single focus of the whole industry,” she said Tuesday at the IHF’s annual conference at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan.

“We will do what we can to control our cost base, but we need government action that needs to have a positive impact on the areas that are out of our control – particularly escalating business costs, be it insurance, energy or rates – to help Ireland maintain its cost competitiveness within the international tourism arena.” Hotels are losing 19 million room nights during the pandemic as revenue has fallen by half

Fry Electronics Team

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