Like someone finally turning on a light in bleak times is how one hotelier has described the measures introduced in Budget 2021.
Conor O’Toole, General Manager of the Clayton Hotel, Cork City said the hospitality industry had probably suffered more than others and said level three, may as well be level five but there was some reassurance in the Budget.
“The 9% VAT for tourism is the way to go, it will certainly help us keep jobs and growth going forward “The commercial rate being waived is a big help as well, it’s a massive thing for us, to have our rates waived, my commercial rates for the year are just shy of €400,000 for the year.
“Last week the future for our industry looked very bleak and all of a sudden it’s like someone hit a light switch, there is a lot of positivity here, this is a massive boost for us looking ahead to quarter four and quarter one next year.”
Mr O’Toole said that the €55m tourism and business support scheme and €5m for tourism product development was “massive.”
“If we can see planes in the sky by quarter one next year and we have a shiny new product to show these guys. A lot of these people won’t have seen Ireland in 18 months, and we will have our new product in place, I think it’s going to be down as one bad year and next year we are going to be back in a strong position.”
General Manager of The Kingsley and Chairperson of the Cork Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, Fergal Harte said he was pleased overall with the Budget supports announced.
“We would certainly welcome a number of the measures that were introduced today, obviously the VAT rate had been flagged in advance but we were happy to see that confirmed.
“We feel that is the right tourism VAT rate, it is an important measure, it should stimulate demand and aid the recovery of the tourism industry.” Mr Harte emphasised the importance of the sector in Ireland.
“After the last recession Tourism created the most amount of jobs, 90,000, and no doubt the 9% VAT rate contributed considerably to that increased employment
“Precovid our industry supported almost 270,000 livelihoods, one in ten jobs across the country and 70% of them outside of Dublin, so reducing the tourism VAT rate will help sustain jobs and communities across Ireland.”
In terms of the rates waiver until 2021, Mr Harte said he “cautiously welcomed” it and said he would have expected that initiative to run from March 2020 to March 2021.
“Every piece of help is welcome,” Mr Harte said.