Covid pandemic promises another summer of expensive staycations

"You will always hear of anecdotes about price gouging, but the vast majority of hotels and guesthouses offer great value for money."
Covid pandemic promises another summer of expensive staycations

Rossbeigh beach in Kerry. Picture Dan Linehan

With foreign shores likely to be so close, but so far away for would-be Irish holidaymakers this year, the continued rediscovery of our native shores will dominate trips this summer.

It would be reasonable to think that there is no rush in preparing for a break seemingly ages away, but many Irish people, desperate for something to look forward to after a bleak few months, are already eyeing the so-called "staycation" as a way to forget the current Covid-19 lockdown.

A cursory glance at aggregate accommodation sites such as Booking.com by the Irish Examiner for a week in July for perennial favourites like Kerry or Galway shows how competitive it could be.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation  is advising  would-be holidaymakers to take their time and shop around, insisting there are hidden gems to be found. Picture: Domnick Walsh

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation  is advising  would-be holidaymakers to take their time and shop around, insisting there are hidden gems to be found. Picture: Domnick Walsh

According to Booking.com, for a week from Sunday, July 4 to Sunday, July 11, there are 256 properties in Kerry that have availability for options such as one room with two adults, or family rooms.

People worried about inflated prices need not fret so far, with 228 of those properties offering free cancellation options, and just 76 have options charging more than €200 per night. 

Some 88 options are currently charging between a more palatable €50 and €100 per night at the moment, with a further 128 between €100 and €150.

While that is not exactly cheap, it is better than some of the outlandish prices being quoted nearer to the weeks in question last summer as it became apparent that travel to sunnier climes like Spain and Portugal was out of the question.

Galway currently has 94 properties listed for the same week in July, offering less value for the more mindful spender than their counterparts in the southwest. 

Of those 94 hotels and guesthouses on Booking.com currently, 51 options are listed as costing more than €200 per night. 

Some 14 have options ranging between €50 and €100, 43 between €100 and €150, and a further 50 between €150 and €200.

For would-be consumers worried about getting locked into a trip so early in the year, there are free cancellation options in 75 of the Galway properties listed.

Chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), Eoghan O'Mara Walsh, urged would-be holidaymakers to take their time and shop around, insisting there are hidden gems to be found with due diligence.

You will always hear of anecdotes about price gouging, but the vast majority of hotels and guesthouses offer great value for money. 

"With the international visitor making up 75% of spending in our industry, we will be hoping to have some form of that market back in the third quarter. 

"That means the domestic market will be vital for us this summer, and tourism businesses will be bending over backwards to welcome Irish visitors."

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