UK travel would be lifeline for Dublin hotels

Easing of restrictions could include resumption of international travel mid-July

Dublin’s Shelbourne hotel. The prospect of restriction-free travel with the UK would be transformative for the Dublin market in late summer and into  autumn, when domestic tourism drops like a stone. Photograph: Eric Luke

Dublin’s Shelbourne hotel. The prospect of restriction-free travel with the UK would be transformative for the Dublin market in late summer and into autumn, when domestic tourism drops like a stone. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Dublin hoteliers are facing the prospect of far lower occupancy rates this summer, compared to many hotels outside the capital that are set to benefit from a buoyant season of domestic tourism. The prospect of a lifeline is on the horizon, however, with the possible resumption of international travel to and from the UK and European Union from mid-July.

The Cabinet on Friday approved a wide-ranging relaxation of anti-virus restrictions, with reopening dates agreed for indoor dining for bars and restaurants and an easing of the rules around events and gatherings. Ministers also signalled that Ireland may adopt the European Union’s green certificate for travel from July 19th, which would allow restriction-free travel within the bloc.

The Government says it will also review the situation for the UK ahead of the July date. Currently, passengers arriving from the UK must arrive with a negative PCR test and must quarantine in their home or lodgings until they produce another negative test five days later. It kills off any non-essential travel.

Immediate fillip

The prospect of restriction-free travel with the UK would be transformative for the Dublin market in late summer and into the so-called “shoulder season” of autumn, when domestic tourism drops like a stone as schools return. It would also provide an immediate fillip to the aviation sector, which is gasping for air under the weight of the toughest travel restrictions in Europe.

Add in the fact that the US is about to be taken off the mandatory hotel quarantine list, which would benefit corporate travel as well as tourism, and things may be looking up.

There is, however, a “cloud on the horizon”, as it was described by chief medical officer Tony Holohan. That is the B.1.167 variant of the virus first discovered in India, which scientists fear could trigger another wave of the UK due to its increased transmissibility. If that happens over coming weeks, all bets could be off.

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