Irish hotel occupancy rates 'highest in 11 years'

Irish hotel occupancy rates are at their highest level in 11 years, according to a new report.

New figures released by the Irish Hotel Federation, show the average national occupancy rate at 72% for last year.

The positive numbers are being attributed to a record year for overseas visitors to Ireland, at 8.8 million visits.

President of the IHF Joe Dolan said that while the outlook for the sector is good, Brexit poses some risks.

"We cannot be complacent, given all that," he said.

"We have some clouds, we have the uncertainty arising from Brexit and we're targeting higher value and higher spending markets to offset the potential downturn arising from Brexit.

"Brexit is the worry, because we really haven't seen the full impact of it yet."

Figures from the Irish Hotels Federation also showed that €8.25bn was generated in tourism revenue last year, creating 13,000 new jobs.

The IHF said that the addition of new air routes helped bring in overseas business.

Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan T.D. said: “I welcome the publication of the employment numbers from the CSO last week which provides further evidence that our tourism industry continues to contribute to the Irish economy.”

“Today’s figures are very welcome and reflect ongoing growth for the tourism sector,” Paul Kelly, the CEO of Fáilte Ireland said. “We need to work hard to maintain this positive momentum particularly in the light of the recent weakening of Sterling relative to the Euro.

“It is important that we continue to invest in our visitor experiences to ensure that Ireland remains a compelling and attractive destination for overseas visitors.”

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