CORK hotels are booked up this weekend as fans of Rod Stewart make their way to Leeside for his show — but the sector still needs more support, according to hotel owner Michael Magner.
Owner of the Vienna Woods Hotel, Mr Magner is delighted to see hotels booked up but feels that the sector needs more support from the government in order to survive.
Upcoming concerts in Pairc Uí Chaoimh and Musgrave Park this summer mean good business for hotels but they are feeling the pressure as a result of the VAT increase, from 9% to 13.5%, at the turn of the year.
“While I welcome the Pairc Ui Chaoimh events, the hotel sector and restaurants are having a tough year because the VAT was increased at the beginning of this year and it is having an impact on visitors and people spending money,” Mr Magner said.
“That’s not just information from my own property, that’s information that we’re seeing right across the hotel industry in Ireland and the restaurant sector as well. If the government are not willing to support us by putting on a draconian VAT increase like they have done, and applying it to sectors that work really hard where margins are so tight, along with a massive insurance crisis where insurance costs are spiralling, it’s putting all businesses under severe pressure, so we have to have a good year in order to keep our doors open.”
He also said the impact of big gigs on the city emphasises the need for the events centre to be built. “I think it proves the absolute necessity to get the issues resolved so we can get the events centre built for these international artists to come to Cork and help not just hotels, but bars, restaurants and the overall feelgood feeling around Cork,” he said.
Speaking about the concert’s effect on his hotel, Mr Magner said that he could see people deciding to make a weekend of it, which in turn benefits the local economy.
“The booking patterns were fairly swift and it all depends on the artist, who would have a particular audience that it would appeal to. So Rod Stewart would have a demographic that would range from mid-twenties up and they would be people specifically who would avail of booking accommodation and travel and making a weekend out of it.
“As a result, we saw people purchasing tickets and then saying ‘let’s go to Cork for the weekend’.”