A NEW industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has suggested that hotels in Cork are beginning to see an uplift in bookings for July and August.
It follows the Government’s recent announcement that it will look at the reopening of hotels and guesthouses in June.
Booking levels nationally are averaging 23% for July and 21% for August.
In the South West region, including Cork and Kerry, booking levels are at 35% for July and 33% for August.
Fergal Harte, chair of the Cork branch of the IHF, said the positive developments around the vaccine rollout, coupled with the Taoiseach’s announcement around the reopening of hotels, have allowed hotels in Cork and across the country to start planning towards reopening.
However, Mr Harte warned there was still a long way to go.
“Recovery will be a challenge for the hotel sector this year, requiring continued Government support through to 2022, when the tourism industry should start to recover in earnest.
“Staycations were a real positive last summer and we expect booking levels to continue to rise over the coming weeks.
“Not surprisingly, as indicated by our latest survey, we would expect to see stronger demand in coastal areas, popular tourist destinations, and hotels offering packages and facilities for families. This is reflected in the South West, including Cork, where occupancy levels at 35% for July are slightly ahead of the national average.”
While the extensive availability across the country may be good news for consumers, Mr Harte said that it highlighted the ongoing challenges facing the hotel sector.
“Tourism supported some 25,300 livelihoods in Cork before Covid-19 restrictions, contributing €895m to the local economy.
“Hotels are focused on restoring employment levels as quickly as possible.
“While employment and business supports to date have been very welcome, it is essential that the Government now provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond,” he said.