Dublin facing ‘capacity crunch’ despite hotel plans

The Dublin tourism market is facing what experts have called a “capacity crunch”, despite a number of new hotels being planned, which could limit the capital’s potential for visitor growth.

Even based on the most modest scenario for visitor growth, Dublin faces an accommodation “capacity challenge” over the next two years, according to a report carried out by consultants Fitzpatrick Associates on behalf of Fáilte Ireland.

Dalata Hotels — the country’s largest hotel group via its Maldron and Clayton brands — has recently announced approval for two new-build projects in Dublin city centre and is targeting up to three more sites. 

Other developers are following suit and an additional 5,550 new rooms are projected to come on stream; although most of the new stock won’t be available until after 2018.

“While I note the report’s findings that suggest the accommodation capacity pressures in our capital may ease from 2019 on, there are serious challenges in the intervening period,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan.

“It is vitally important that we keep the focus on value and competitiveness. We must remember that, since seven out of ten visitors to Ireland will stay in Dublin at some stage in their trip, whether it is their sole destination or a gateway to the rest of the country, the issues outlined in this report have a national impact,” he added.

Last year saw eight million overseas tourists visit Ireland and Fáilte Ireland is aiming to boost that yearly figure to 10m by 2025. The first four months of this year saw a 14% year-on-year rise in visitor numbers.

Minister O’Donovan noted Transport Minister Shane Ross’ recent approval of Fáilte Ireland’s revised hotel regulations plan — due to come into force later this year — as a major boon for the sector. 

“The changes should allow hotel operators provide more rooms and operate at a lower cost base, therefore improving hotel capacity, competitiveness, and profitability,” he said.

“If we are to enjoy sustained growth in tourism nationally, I believe it is incumbent on all tourism stakeholders to help create the right environment for the tourism sector to expand and meet the inevitable growth in demand for accommodation which Dublin is facing,” he said.


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