The latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has revealed a dramatic collapse in new hotel bookings over the past fortnight as the impact of the Government’s additional restrictions due to COVID 19 continue to be felt across the country.
At this time of the year, the hotel sector would normally expect to generate 350,000 new bed nights booked each week, however, this has plummeted with room occupancy levels down over 70% for the remainder of the year.
IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn said: “The situation has now deteriorated further in recent days, and we have reached a critical point with cancellations wiping out all new business generated over the week. Effectively, no net new business has been generated over the last seven days for the country as a whole – the first time this has happened since the sector reopened at the end of June.
Mr Fenn added: “The collapse in new bookings is extremely worrying and adds to an already exceptionally challenging environment. It is a direct consequence of additional Government restrictions and points to a very difficult number of months ahead. This must be recognised by the Government in the upcoming Budget. Existing supports for the tourism industry are totally inadequate given the current restrictions. Urgent and unprecedented intervention by the Government is essential to support tourism and safeguard the thousands of jobs that are at risk.
He said: “Prior to Covid, tourism supported 270,000 livelihoods, one in ten of all Irish jobs. An estimated 100,000 jobs of these have been lost so far this year and a further 100,000 are at immediate risk without substantial sector specific supports being put in place. These should include enhanced employment subsidies, a reduction in tourism VAT, extended waiver of local authority rates and greater access to banking finance.”
The survey was carried out at the start of the week beginning 28th September) and results are based on the response from 305 properties accounting for a combined stock of 32,475 guestrooms spread throughout the entire country.
Hotel room occupancy rates across the country are at 40% for September, 22% for October and 11% for November based on business currently booked. This compared with rates of 89% last September, 81 % last October and 82% last November.