Helena Healy, CEO, B&B Ireland, Mary Spillane, Owner, Greenacres B&B, Paul Kelly, CEO, Failte Ireland, Maurice Pratt, Chairman, B&B Ireland. as B&B Ireland celebrates 50 years. Photo: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce

Confidence high among B&B owners

The majority of B&B owners in Ireland are optimistic about the year ahead but there’s also concern that international visitor numbers will not return to normal levels until at least 2023.

That’s according to B&B Ireland, the national organisation for bed and breakfast operators on the island of Ireland, after it surveyed its members as it marks its 50th anniversary.

The organisation said it is responsible for bringing half a million tourists a year into the B&B sector through its global promotion of the Irish B&B experience.

The survey said 77 per cent of hosts are feeling either confident or very confident about business for the year ahead. Most hosts believe it will be 2023 or 2024 before there will be a full return of international visitors however, 74 per cent expect to be busier in 2022 than in 2021. One-third of B&B owners are also opting to extend their season and open for longer as a result, the survey showed.

Helena Healy, CEO of B&B Ireland said the future of the organisation is bright and is encouraging more hosts to become members.

She added: “We’ve been around for 50 years and we intend to be around for the next 50 years. We will be here to support and generate business for our members throughout. I think that the Irish B&B experience is so unique that it is not going anywhere.”

She continued: “There will always be people who want to welcome guests into their homes because it is part of the Irish charm. It has been a challenging two years for all B&B operators. We believe that there will be a significant recovery in 2022 and that sentiment is shared by the majority of our members who are feeling confident about the year ahead.

“Thankfully there is still huge demand for the authentic Irish B&B experience from the international market and at home,” said Ms Healy.

The organisation began in 1972 as the Town and Country Homes Association. In 2010 it amalgamated with Irish Farm House Holidays and was renamed B&B Ireland.

As part of its 50th anniversary, B&B Ireland is celebrating what makes Irish B&Bs unique.

It is also shining a spotlight on bed and breakfasts that are in operation for 50 years or more.

Failte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly joined B&B Ireland to celebrate the organisation’s 50th anniversary.

He said: “Staying in a B&B is a special experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in Irish life and culture.

“B&B Ireland and its members across the country are renowned for their hospitality and quality assured high standards and are an integral part of the Irish tourism industry,” concluded Mr Kelly.