Operating losses at the Trump Doonbeg resort reduced sharply to around €100,000 in 2018 as revenues further increased in the "best year" to date for the resort.
That is according to General Manager of the Trump Resort, Joe Russell, who confirmed today that the Trump Organisation has ploughed €40m, including the purchase price, since the resort came under the ownership of the Trump Organisation five years ago this week.
Mr Russell said that during the five years and prior to Donald Trump becoming US President, the billionaire has visited Doonbeg six times - including the high-profile visit in May 2014 when he was given the red carpet treatment at Shannon Airport.
Revenues at the resort in 2018 increased by 7% to €11.4m and this represents an increase of 48% on the revenues of €7.7m that were recorded in 2014 during the first year of the Trump ownership of the resort.
The resort enjoyed the increase in revenues in 2018 as a result of accommodation income increasing by 3%, green fee income increasing by 13% and Food & Beverage increasing by 8%.
The operating loss of €100,000 in 2018 represents a 70% drop on the €330,030 operating loss for 2017.
On the prospects for 2019, Mr Russell said that bookings are currently pacing ahead of last year in golf and accommodation.
During the five-year period of the Trump Organisation ownership of the resort, peak season employment numbers have gone up from 235 to 290.
Mr Russell said: "The Trump Organisation investment and involvement has supported and improved the business overall allowing for a year on year increase each year to our best year of trading in 2018 since opening full facilities in 2006.
“The level of commitment, expertise and drive that the Trump Organisation has provided over the past five years has been very good for our business.
“The investment in the golf operation overall has improved our links course immensely with Dr Martin Hawtree’s redesign of the golf course in 2014 and 2015 with the local team at Doonbeg ensuring we now have a golf product that stands parallel with the great golf courses of Ireland.”
Donald Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jnr, remain on the board of the Trump Doonbeg firm - President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka stepped down as directors on January 19, 2017 - one day prior to President Trump’s inauguration.
The Trump Doonbeg firm currently has a €40m application before Clare County Council for 53 holiday cottages, a ballroom/function room, a leisure centre and a new restaurant.
Mr Russell said the plans “will allow for further investment in facilities which will attract a wider base of clientele to the resort, lengthen our season and further increase top-line revenues”.
The resort’s contentious coastal barrier plan remains before An Bord Pleanála and Mr Russell said: “These works are necessary to protect our core asset, the golf course, which is a primary reason many visitors to come to our resort.”