Local tourism revenues could drop by €670m, warns Cork hotelier

Local tourism revenues could drop by €670m, warns Cork hotelier

Fergal Harte, general manager of The Kingsley Hotel and chairman of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork hoteliers have warned that 18,600 tourism jobs across Cork are at risk this year, while local tourism revenues are forecast to drop by €670m as businesses fight for survival.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said their latest industry survey reveals a collapse in hotel bookings on foot of additional Government restrictions due to Covid-19.

According to the IHF, hotel room occupancy rates across the South West are at 51% for September, 26% for October and 9% for November based on business currently booked.

It said that since the announcement on 15th September of revised Government plans for restrictions, the weekly rate of new bookings for hotels has plummeted by 67% across the country.

Fergal Harte, Chair of the IHF Cork Branch said: “It is now ‘make or break’ time. Urgent and unprecedented intervention from the Government is required to support tourism businesses and safeguard thousands of jobs throughout the sector. This must form a central plank of the Budget due to be announced next month.

“Prior to Covid-19, Cork’s tourism and hospitality industry supported 25,300 jobs and generated €895 million in revenues annually for the local economy. We are now facing a deepening crisis with 18,600 tourism jobs across Cork at risk this year and local tourism revenues forecast to drop by €670m as businesses fight for survival." 

Mr Harte said the outlook is “exceptionally difficult” and highlights the requirement for urgent immediate sectoral specific measures for tourism.

"This situation is nothing short of disastrous for our sector with serious implications for the tourism industry and wider economy. We are calling on the Government to implement sector specific measures as a matter of urgency. These should include enhanced employment subsidies, a reduction in tourism VAT, extended waiver of local authority rates and greater access to banking finance," he said. 

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