The latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has revealed the challenges facing hotels and guesthouses as demand continues to plummet as a result of the COVID crisis.

The survey was carried out on the week commencing 31st August 2020 with 307 hotels and guesthouse responding. These hotels have a combined room capacity of 29,800 bedrooms spread throughout the entire country.

The impact on employment and people’s livelihoods is stark for an industry that supported 270,000 direct and indirect jobs at the beginning of the year − 1 in 10 of all Irish jobs.

With the summer season finished, hotels and guesthouses are now reporting a 70% drop in projected revenues for September compared to this time last year. Bookings for September/October have plunged with average room occupancy levels at 24% nationally, compared to 86% for same period last year. This follows a very challenging July and August with average national occupancy at 49%, representing a significant drop compared the 90% occupancy achieved during the key summer months last year.

Regionally, hotel occupancy is as low as 12% in Dublin city and county, rising to 30% to other parts of the country outside of major cities.

The IHF estimates that 100,000 tourism jobs have been lost so far this year, with a further 100,000 jobs at imminent risk.

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation, said that the figures highlight the requirement for further sector specific measures to support Irish tourism. “Our industry is operating in a quasi-lockdown. The existing supports are totally inadequate for our industry given the current restrictions. If appropriate measures are not put in place, more jobs will be lost.”

“A major frustration for us continues to be the lack of meaningful consultation with our industry in advance of new restrictions being announced by Government. All areas of society negatively impacted by Covid-19 should be consulted, including businesses, when developing the Roadmap for Resilience and Recovery, which is due to be published on 14th September. Public health goes hand in hand with ensuring a viable economy when this pandemic has passed.”

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