Hotels Federation warns tourism sector about complacency after strong 2017

Hotels Federation warns tourism sector about complacency after strong 2017

File photo of a European Union flag in front of the Elizabeth Tower, London.

BREXIT remains a major concern for the hotel sector in Cork, according to a survey by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).

With UK visitor numbers down by 6% year on year, three in five hotel and guesthouse owners say the weakened Sterling has had a negative effect on their business during 2017.

This compares to just two in five this time last year.

Furthermore, more than three-in-five (62%) report a fall in business from Great Britain with two-in-five (40%) seeing a similar drop from Northern Ireland, compared to 2016.

Almost all hoteliers surveyed (94%) called for additional marketing support and product development for their region.

Aaron Mansworth, chair of the Irish Hotels Federation's Cork branch
Aaron Mansworth, chair of the Irish Hotels Federation's Cork branch

Aaron Mansworth, Chair of the IHF’s Cork branch, said that while visitor numbers may still be up, the tourism and hospitality sector cannot afford to be complacent about the future.

“The continued fall-out from Brexit and the slowdown in visitor growth are worrying as they have a significant regional bias. For too long we have had a two-tier tourism sector where businesses in the major cities and tourism hotspots benefit more than the regions.

“We must diversify into new markets and we welcome the work being done in that regard. However, it cannot be at the expense of our existing markets, particularly the UK, which has the broadest regional and seasonal spread of visitors.

“Our survey shows that hoteliers are planning to increase their own marketing spend next year too but more targeted investment is needed, particularly in regional marketing support and in the development of new and engaging products,” Mr Mansworth said.

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