Shutdown threatens 6,200 jobs in Kilkenny and Carlow – hotel chief
Hotel and guesthouse owners across Kilkenny have called for an “urgent review” of business supports for the hospitality sector, which has been decimated by the pandemic.
The call from the head of the South East branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Colm Neville, comes in the wake of the recent announcement that the sector is likely to remain closed until mid-summer.
Mr Neville warned the Government that failure to act now will have “long term implications that could take years to repair”.
The regional IHF chief said: “Public health must always be the number one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve. However, if the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are required now to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover.
“The news at the weekend resulted in acute frustration and anxiety for many people. Prior to this pandemic, some 6,200 livelihoods were supported by tourism and hospitality across Carlow and Kilkenny with the sector contributing €163 million to the local economy.”
The hotelier said local hotels and guesthouses provide employment, buy local services, source locally produced food and “provide a vital infrastructure in support of local business and communities”.
Mr Neville added: “In some parts, whole communities are built around tourism. A severely devastated tourism and hospitality sector would be a major loss to the economy and society here for many years to come. This can and must be avoided.
“It wasn’t that long along ago that in the aftermath of the last financial crisis tourism was the number one sector in terms of job creation. Government must step up with engagement and the required supports to ensure that the sector and its 270,000 community nationwide can recover.”