Hotel and guesthouse owners in Cork are calling for an urgent review of business and employment supports for the hospitality sector.
They are also asking the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure that appropriate supports and engagement processes are in place for business owners and their team members until Covid – 19 has been suppressed.
It follows the announcement at the weekend that the sector is unlikely to reopen before mid-summer.
Fergal Harte, chair of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation warned that “failure to act now will have long term implications that could take years to repair.”
Mr Harte said: “Public health must always be the number one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve. However, if the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are required now to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover.
“The news at the weekend resulted in acute frustration and anxiety for many people. Prior to this pandemic, some 25,300 livelihoods were supported by tourism and hospitality here in Cork with the sector contributing €895 million to the local economy.
"Hotels and guesthouses not only provide local employment opportunities, they buy local services, source locally produced food and provide a vital infrastructure in support of local business and communities. In some parts, whole communities are built around tourism. A severely devastated tourism and hospitality sector would be a major loss to the economy and society here for many years to come. This can and must be avoided.”
Mr Harte added:“It wasn’t that long along ago that in the aftermath of the last financial crisis tourism was the number one sector in terms of job creation. Government must step up with engagement and the required supports to ensure that the sector and its 270,000 community nationwide can recover."