Hotel bed shortage hurts Cork potential

Hotel bed shortage hurts Cork potential
Cork City. Pic Denis Scannell Cork City Views Aerial Pics

A shortage of hotel beds is undermining Cork's tourism potential.

The chairman of Cork City Council's Tourism Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) said the city is lagging behind the likes of Killarney when it comes to B&Bs, guesthouses and hotel beds, with many institutions in the city more focused on business tourism than leisure visitors.

This week, conditional planning was granted for the completion of an unfinished 165-bed hotel fronting the South Mall and Parnell Square, while the Kingsley Hotel also recently applied to expand its premises at Victoria Cross.

However, Fianna Fáil councillor Tom O'Driscoll said the city is already nearing capacity as tourism numbers grow, urging the city to expand its accommodation options.

"The city's hotels are currently performing very well and that is to be welcomed," he said.

"But the issue is that Cork can accommodate far fewer people than the likes of Killarney because of the relative lack of guesthouses, B&Bs and other options.

"If you take a look at Trivago or other booking sites for the summer, a lot of Cork hotels are full or have few rooms remaining. The prices aren't far off Dublin in some cases and that is because there is huge demand."

Mr O'Driscoll said that increased tourist numbers in the coming years could pose an issue for the city as there simply won't be anywhere for people to stay.

"Many of our hotels are more corporate focused," he added.

"If our tourism numbers grow as we expect them too, people might struggle to find somewhere to stay. This could definitely harm repeat visits, too, as people are very price conscious."

Hopes are high that the proposed docklands tower will include hotel space if it gets the go-ahead, while plans for a hotel on Sullivan's Quay may also ease demand.

However, these projects are likely to be some years from completion at present.

"Guesthouses and B&Bs aren't common in Cork and our extra beds are some time away," Mr O'Driscoll said.

"If prices jump, the hotels' yield will go up, but the numbers in the city won't and that's bad news for many other businesses."

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