More than 90% of hoteliers have been forced to axe staff over the past year and a half, new figures revealed today.
Almost three quarters of hotel and guesthouse owners warned of further job cuts as they struggle to cover costs in the face of falling revenues.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) survey also found nine out of ten members were concerned about the viability of their businesses this year, with a quarter reporting a drop in trade of more than 25%.
The research comes after official figures showed a 17% fall in overall tourism takings last year amid declining overseas visits and domestic trips.
IHF chief executive John Power said despite the plummeting revenues, local authority rates, state sector charges and insurance costs for hoteliers continued to rise or stagnate.
“It is vital that tourism receives the recognition and support which it merits given its scale and overall contribution to the economy,” he said.
“We are calling on the Government to intervene, particularly in respect of local authority charges, and facilitate an orderly restructuring of the sector in a way that is sustainable and allows our members to continue to be major employers and contributors to the Irish economy.”
The IHF survey on the eve of its annual conference in Galway also found the economic downturn has led to 63% of respondents putting on hold future investment plans, with 30% indicating scaled back investment projects.
The federation’s president Matthew Ryan said the country’s tourism industry - including its 903 hotels and 307 guesthouses had untapped potential to help drive nationwide economic recovery.
“A more holistic approach to tourism that builds compelling offerings around visitors and their experiences while visiting Ireland is needed,” he added.
“This requires that we market Ireland more effectively, increase accessibility and reduce costs in a time of diminished resources.”