Just 13% of Dublin city hotel rooms booked for summer

Hoteliers that rely on British tourists criticise tough quarantine measures on arrivals

Dublin hotels had been relying on a pick-up in visitors from Britain to salvage some trade over the coming months.  Photograph: Getty Images

Dublin hotels had been relying on a pick-up in visitors from Britain to salvage some trade over the coming months. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Internal industry figures show that Dublin city centre hotels are facing a disastrous summer, with average occupancy levels of only about 13 per cent forecast for the height of summer based on current bookings.

This contrasts with hotels in many areas outside the capital which have seen a surge in bookings since the sector reopened on June 2nd and domestic tourism resumed.

Hoteliers and their representatives have criticised the decision this week by the Government to impose tough quarantine measures even on vaccinated travellers from Britain in their efforts to slow down the more transmissible delta virus variant, which originated in India.

The Common Travel Area with the UK remains effectively suspended on this side of the Irish Sea as vaccinated British travellers must quarantine in their accommodation for five days, while those who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days.

Dublin hotels, by far the hardest hit in the sector during the pandemic, had been relying on a pick-up in visitors from Britain to salvage some trade over coming months. British visitors’ relative importance is more pronounced in the capital, with domestic tourists more likely to go outside Dublin.

Vaccinated

That hope has now been dashed with the tougher-than-expected rules announced this week following meetings between Government and public health officials. It had been expected that vaccinated British visitors would be spared isolation or quarantine requirements when international travel resumes on July 19th.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) described the measures as a “blow” for the city’s hotels. Paul Gallagher, general manager of Buswells hotel, a well-known political haunt near Leinster House, said vaccinated travellers “should have the freedom” to visit without restriction.

“Quarantine measures are like telling even vaccinated British visitors not to come. On a tick list of things to do on your trip to Dublin, sitting alone in your hotel room for five days is not high up,” he said.

Figures circulated within the industry by data research company STR illustrate the dearth of bookings in the capital. Earlier this week fewer than one in four hotel rooms were due to be occupied this weekend among a sample of more than 40 city hotels.

School holidays

No pick-up is evident for when schools close. On most days in July fewer than one in 10 hotel bedrooms in the city are booked. That climbs to mid-to-late teens in percentage terms on Friday and Saturday nights.

There is a slight rise for August. Even then Dublin hotels are less than one-fifth booked most weekend nights. Average bookings are 13 per cent over the next 28 and 90 days.

Mr Gallagher said five-star hotels would perform better as domestic tourists treat themselves to luxury nights away.

He said Dublin hotels were burning cash by rehiring staff they do not need to avoid staffing shortages after the pandemic.

The IHF said the new British restrictions come “at a time when Dublin hotels already have occupancy levels at historic lows”.

“It is a very worrying development, particularly given the growing level of demand in recent weeks for travel to Ireland from our nearest neighbour.”