Hoteliers want big cuts in local rates

Irish hoteliers want the next government — no matter which party is involved — to reduce local government levies that they say is crimping hard-won euro earnings from tourism.

Hoteliers want big cuts in local rates

The call comes as the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) meets in Killarney for its annual gathering.

The hoteliers say that, since the crisis, they have cut overheads by significant amounts, but still face large rates bills and other costs levied by local councils.

Hotels are charged rates of up to €3,000 for each bedroom, the businesses say.

“These rates are out of kilter with economic reality and are a result of delays in carrying out revisions by the Valuation Office,” said IHF president Stephen McNally.

“Tourism businesses operate in an exceptionally competitive international market where every euro spent in Ireland is hard won. We cannot afford to let our guard down, particularly when it comes to public-sector costs.”

Other costs such as energy and water levies have stymied efforts by hoteliers to reduce consumption, undermining the competitiveness of a key industry, the hoteliers said.

The IHF said the energy regulator should do more to ensure that the fall in global crude oil prices is passed onto to electricity customers.

“Despite recent falls in wholesale oil prices, Irish electricity prices for SMEs are among the most expensive in the euro area,” said Mr McNally.

“As such, action is required by the next government to minimise all controllable costs impacting on energy prices.”

The IHF has estimated that Irish hotels and guest houses created over 33,000 new jobs since 2011, and now accounts for 205,000 jobs, or 11% of all employment.

In a report last week, the hoteliers said that occupancy rates had risen to 70% last year from 64% in 2014.

The IHF has defended room rate increases as marking a recovery “from a very low base following the downturn”.

“While most of the country is now benefiting from the uplift in tourism, the gains have not been spread evenly across the country,” and is made worse by the dependence on the summer season, the IHF said.

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