COVID 19 has had a profound impact on Irish hotels, with average national room occupancy levels for 2021 standing at 22% year to date according to the latest industry research from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
With the summer over, the sector is entering an uncertain nine months as booking levels fall sharply in the absence of overseas visitors, meetings and events which would normally sustain the sector during the off-peak season.
IHF Chief Executive, Tim Fenn, said that hotels and guesthouses will have seen a combined €5.3bn drop in revenues across 2020 and 2021, with overall revenues dropping 68% in 2020 and 55% this year.
The research was carried out 1st-6th September and results are based on the response from 331 properties. These account for a combined stock of 34,300 guestrooms spread throughout the entire country.
Mr. Fenn is urging the Government to give a firm commitment to continue business and employment supports.
Government measures sought by the IHF include the extension of the current EWSS employment supports until June 2022 to help businesses retain and develop their teams over the coming months; the retention of the 9% tourism VAT rate until after 2025 to allow Irish tourism to compete internationally; and the extension of the commercial rates waiver until June 2022 when the summer seasons begins.
Under the most optimistic scenario for the remainder of 2021, average occupancy is projected to reach 32% for year as whole – a significant collapse in activity compared with 2019, when room occupancy was 73%, and is only a modest increase on the all-time historic low of 30% reached in 2020.
“Hotels and guesthouses will have seen a combined €5.3bn drop in revenues across 2020 and 2021 as a direct result of this crisis with overall revenues dropping 68% in 2020 and 55% this year. In real terms that’s over 19m room nights lost, billions wiped out in food and beverage sales, and countless missed opportunities for hotels reliant on entertainment, business meetings and events – as well the enormous impact on the many thousands of suppliers to our sector,” said Mr. Fenn.