Hotels and guesthouses across the country are facing a loss in revenue of up to €270 million over the Christmas period due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Commenting on reports that people will not be allowed to travel outside their county for much of December, Tim Fenn, chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) says that this will have a devastating impact on hotels throughout the country, severely limiting their ability to trade.
Only a very small proportion of hotel accommodation in December is from within the same county.
“It is clear that December and Christmas will be very different this year. But the Government must take a more balanced approach to allowing people travel outside their county to visit family. Hotels can be an important part of the solution in facilitating this by providing very safe, highly-controlled, spacious environments for people stay independent of the home setting. We have a proven safety record and urge the Government to recognise the role we can play in ensuring a safer Christmas.”
“Scant difference between Level 3 and Level 5.”
He added: “We understand the significant challenges facing Government in reopening society in a safe way. However, there is scant difference between Level 3 and Level 5 restrictions in terms of how hotels can operate.
“What is being overlooked is that hotels are proven to be safe places. Hotels have rigorously implemented all the Government guidelines yet despite this Government is insisting on restrictions with disastrous implications for revenue and related employment within our sector.”
In a previous interview with BreakingNews.ie, Paul Gallagher, who owns Buswells Hotel in Dublin city centre, spoke about the difficulties hotels will face if cross-county travel is not permitted for December.
“Dublin hotels rely massively on non-Dublin customers. Many who are likely to occupy a room are likely to come from outside the Dublin region, likewise with country hotels who rely on Dubliners to fill rooms in the festive season.
“If cross-county travel is not allowed it will present huge problems. If I can’t open the front door of my hotel, I won’t be opening my hotel.”