The hotel industry in Ireland has reported a dramatic collapse in event bookings in the lead up to Christmas costing the industry an estimated €90m as companies and organisations cancel social gatherings and meals due to the recent rise in Covid cases.
Hotel and guesthouse owners now want the Government to provide urgent additional supports for the sector.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said that in normal times, December trading sustains the first few months of the following year. However, they said occupancy levels remain significantly down on expectations, with hoteliers reporting occupancies of 35% for December and 14% across January and February.
The sector said it is are now facing a cut in the vital EWSS employment support from December 1 and the discontinuation of local council rates waivers from January 1.
"The trading environment for the hotels sector is now completely different to a few weeks ago. Hotels and guesthouses are taking an enormous financial hit, and this must be recognised upfront by Government in the form of urgent additional supports for our sector," IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn said.
The IHF wants a firm commitment from Government to continue EWSS supports at their current levels at least up until April 2022 and for the current local authority rates waiver to be retained until June 2022.
“We have been repeatedly told that there will be no cliff-edge yet that is not what we are seeing from the Government at present. The Government must recognise the impact recent changes to public health advice are having on our industry and reverse decisions to withdraw supports until the impact of Covid-19 measures has abated."
"Budget 2022 was not designed for the current challenges facing hospitality businesses. Additional targeted supports must be put in place immediately to provide much-needed certainty," he said.