Hotel sector seeks emergency measures in budget amid Covid-19 restrictions

Sector claims 1m beds wil be lost over three weeks

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Hoteliers have called for emergency measures from the Government to support the tourism and hospitality industry as increased coronavirus restrictions put new pressure on businesses. 

The move from all of the State to Level 3 on the Government’s plan to deal with the pandemic for the next three weeks sees people limited to staying in their own county, causing the loss of up to 1 million bed nights over the period and putting further pressure on businesses.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) called for additional supports directly targeting tourism and hospitality businesses in the budget, around employment supports, local authority rates waivers, reduced tourism VAT and grants to help businesses survive the current restrictions.

Chief executive Tim Fenn said there was very little difference between Level 3 and Level 5 for hotel, with the restrictions having a “disastrous impact” on the ability of hotels to stay open.

“Our industry is swimming against the tide and in desperate need of a life-line from the Government,” he said. “ From midnight, hotels and guesthouses will effectively be left with empty properties and next to no ability to generate revenues. This is nothing short of a disaster for our industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by tourism across the country. This must be recognised by the Government with substantial supports in the upcoming budget.”

Almost 270,000 people were supported by the tourism and hospitality industry prior to the current pandemic, with 70 per cent of jobs located outside of Dublin. Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, 100,000 of those jobs have been lost, the IHF said, with 100,000 at risk.

“The existing supports for the tourism industry are wholly inadequate given the restrictions. We call on the Government to adopt the Tourism Recovery Plan 2020-2023 prepared by the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, including their immediate priority recommendations,” Mr Fenn said.

“Tourism is proven to be an engine for economic recovery following the financial crisis and it can be again with the right Government supports. Hotels and guesthouses are a key component of its infrastructure. A failure to support the industry now will have ramifications for the future of Ireland’s tourism offering and for the economy that could take decades to remedy.”