Owen Travers, head of AIB’s hospitality division says the bank isvery supportive of the Irish hospitality sector.
He describes hospitality as a vital sector for the Irish economy and “one of the key driving forces behind employment growth and the Irish economic recovery.”
Business activities in the sector which AIB helps fund include acquisition, business expansion and capital reinvestment.
In a measure of how far the Irish hospitality sector has come over the years since the crash, Travers says the bank is now providing significant funding for select new hotel development projects.
Dublin city centre has been earmarked as an area with significant capacity for expansion due to bed-night undersupply: demand has been created by ongoing economic recovery, plus continued growth in international visitor numbers to the capital city, and across Ireland to a lesser extent.
Prior to last weekend’s National Tourism Forum in Killarney on Friday, AIB confirmed it would be the funding partner for a new 198 bedroom Holiday Inn Express in Dublin.
This is the first large scale new build hotel to open in Dublin in over three years. AIB estimates that it will be funding the provision of up to 30 new hotels providing 1,000 extra hotel bedrooms in Ireland over the coming 18 months.
It has also funded the expansion of the MHL Hotel Collection with a 66 bedroom extension to Dublin’s Trinity City hotel and financing for the acquisition of the InterContinental hotel in Ballsbridge (formerly the Four Seasons).