Hotels begin slow bounce back

The hospitality sector was hit harder than most by the Covid-19 pandemic but with summer approaching and restrictions easing, hotels are finally taking their first steps on the long road to recovery.

According to the latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) hotels in certain parts of the country are beginning to see an uplift in bookings for July and August.

The survey was carried out in April and the results are based on the response of 330 properties with 32,850 guest rooms spread across the country.

This follows the Government’s recent and very welcome announcement that it will look at the reopening of hotels and guesthouses in early June.

With booking levels nationally averaging 23 per cent for July and 21 per cent for August, Fergal Harte, Chair of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, is encouraging people to plan their holidays and breaks early while there is plenty of choice and availability around.

According to Mr Harte, occupancy levels for July in Cork are now above the national average at 35 per cent.

“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. There is excellent value available.

Guests should contact hotels directly to find out what special offers are available and shop around,” said Mr Harte.

While the extensive availability across the country may be good news for consumers, it highlights the ongoing challenges facing the hotel sector.

He added: “Tourism supported some 25,300 livelihoods in Cork before Covid-19 restrictions, contributing €895 million to the local economy. While employment and business supports to date have been very welcome, it is essential that the Government now provides greater clarity and certainty around supports into 2022 and beyond.”