Irish hotels and guesthouses have seen an increase in business levels during the first six months of 2017, according to the latest quarterly barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
As the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show overseas visitors up over 3% to the end of May, the industry survey shows that the domestic market is increasing also with seven in ten (71%) hoteliers saying business levels are up compared to this time last year. Overall, three quarters (76%) of hoteliers are reporting increased levels in business year on year.
The general outlook for the rest of the year appears positive overall and Ireland looks on course to surpass the 8.8m overseas visits set last year. More than half of hoteliers report increases in advance bookings from the United States.
However, IHF President Joe Dolan warned that Brexit is already impacting on tourism performance. “Visitor numbers are up, which is good news and the growth in domestic tourism is particularly encouraging as it extends beyond the traditional tourism hot spots and its impact on local economies can be felt more widely. However, the latest CSO figures show a continued fall in UK visitors, our biggest market, which illustrates the fragility of the tourism recovery.”
Joe continued: “Many of the consequences of Brexit are largely outside our control, so it is imperative that we mitigate the risks and potential damage where we do have some control over our destiny. Continued growth remains a priority for the sector, which is the country’s largest indigenous employer. It is achievable but it requires specific actions. Ireland’s competitive tourism offering will certainly help and this is underpinned by important measures as the zero rate travel tax and the 9% tourism VAT rate which brings us into line with other countries in Europe.”