Hotel occupancy plummets as Irish Hotels federation calls for cut in Vat to 5%

Hotel occupancy plummets as Irish Hotels federation calls for cut in Vat to 5%
IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said a Vat reduction similar to that applied in the UK was vital for the hospitality sector. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Hoteliers want a reduction in tourism Vat to 5% to support the hospitality sector.

Almost 90% of hotels across the country are expected to be open by the middle of this month but reported occupancy levels for the peak summer months of July and August have plummeted.

A survey by the Irish Hotels Federation shows occupancy levels of 23% and 26% for the remainder of the summer, compared to an average of 90% over the same period last year.

Occupancy for September, traditionally a popular time for US visitors, stands at 22%.

The British government announced this week that the Vat rate was being slashed from 20% to 5%.

IHF president Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said the Vat reduction showed the British Government was committed to supporting the recovery of their tourism and hospitality industry. 

“Given how closely our economies are intertwined a similar cut here [Ireland] is necessary,” said Ms Fitzgerald Kane.

“The UK is not only our biggest market for overseas tourists, but it is also our biggest competitor.” 

The IHF wants the tourism Vat rate to be cut from 13.5% to 5% until December 2021 followed by a permanent restoration to 9% to help tourism recover.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane called for clarification on guidelines for gatherings, including weddings, civil partnerships and baptisms. Gatherings in Northern Ireland will be determined by the size of the venue from today. 

Ms Fitzgerald Kane said they wanted the size of gatherings to be linked to venue capacity as opposed to an arbitrary cap on numbers.

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