IHF calls for abolition of JLCs

Hotels in Ireland face major challenges when it comes to competitiveness and the biggest drains are the cost of wages, local authority rates and utility rates, according to the Irish Hotel Federation.

It said cost competitiveness is the single biggest barrier to job creation in the tourism industry.

Ahead of its annual conference the IHF said the tourism sector could create up to 15,000 jobs this year if the Government addressed these issues and allowed the market to grow.

John Brennan of the Park Hotel in Kenmare has said marketing tourism in Ireland is vital to boosting the industry at this time.

Mr Brennan said: "At the height of the boom, 75% of the beds that were filled outside of the Dublin area were from the domestic market.

"Now that is a huge number to come and fill all of those rooms from a population of probably four million or...there abouts.

"We need to shift the emphasis of that and attract more people back into the country."

Chief Executive of the IHF Tim Fenn said wage costs for new hires are the third highest in Europe.

He said JLCs, or local wage agreements, specifically covering the hospitality sector must now be abolished to help the industry to grow.

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