Irish hoteliers are upbeat about their prospects for 2017, despite more than 90% being concerned about the effects of the UK leaving the EU.
The latest industry barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) shows that two-thirds of hoteliers are intending to increase marketing spend next year, nearly 90% plan to invest in refurbishment work, and 41% are set to boost staff levels.
One of the strongest years for tourism since the downturn also showed an 82% rise in business from domestic consumers, suggesting a real upturn in the economy.
However, Brexit remains the elephant in the room.
“While it is too early to say what the effect of Brexit will be, the uncertainty and the fall in the value of sterling will pose challenges,” IHF president Joe Dolan said, adding that while there has been growth from mainland European and US visitors, there are signs that the UK market is slowing for the Irish tourism brand.
He said mitigating the Brexit-related risks is a key task for the IHF, “as we work to deliver sustainable, long-term growth”, adding: “Continued Government support for tourism, in the form of investment in marketing and product development, will be critical.”
Separately, industry figures show that 65 Irish-based hotels changed hands this year, at a combined value of €800m; up from 63 deals worth a combined €710m last year.
Additionally, earlier this week, Dalata Hotels — the country’s largest hotel group — said trading in the last four months has been up, on a year-on-year basis and that it expects full-year earnings to be at the upper-end of market expectations.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved