October 23, 2019
Business News

Brexit shakes confidence of local hotel industry: conference

BUSINESS sentiment at  hotels and guesthouses in Kilkenny and the South East has deteriorated sharply in the past year, a major conference has heard.

The Irish Hotels Federation says the same trend is evident across the country. A survey it commissioned reveals that only 40% of hoteliers now have a positive outlook for their business over the next 12 months. This compares with 79% who reported a positive outlook at the start of 2018.

The federation’s annual conference in Killarney was told that concerns include the continued risk of a disruptive Brexit, reduced competitiveness due to the hike in tourism VAT, increases in the cost of doing business and growing economic uncertainty internationally.

Performance so far this year has been mixed, with 39% of hoteliers across the country  reporting a drop in overall business levels compared to this time last year while 48% report an increase. This has largely been driven by growth from North America and Europe, which is masking continued poor performance of the UK market. Almost two thirds of hoteliers (65%) say advance bookings for 2019 from Britain are down while almost six in ten (57%) are seeing a fall in advance bookings from Northern Ireland.

Colm Neville, Chair of the South East branch of the federation, said growth in recent years cannot be taken for granted.

“With the prospect of a disruptive Brexit looming, the sharp fall in business sentiment amongst hoteliers is not surprising,” he said.

“Our fear is that regional tourism businesses risk being hardest hit, especially those operating in areas that are heavily reliant on seasonal and UK markets.”

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