Hoteliers Miffed at Support Level

The business measures announced by the Government are disappointing and fall far short of what is required to support small and medium sized regional hotels that are heavily dependent on food services, according to Irish Hotels Federation President Michael Magner.

"This is a missed opportunity to provide meaningful assistance to our sector at a time of ever-increasing business costs, much of which are a result of the Government’s own policy interventions," he said.

"The bottom line is that these measures fail to address the enormous underlying challenges facing our sector, which is an important part of the wider tourism industry. The measures will have a minimal impact for many hotels that are struggling with unprecedented cost increases. This includes many regional hotels that are heavily reliant on food services and are dealing with very tight margins and reduced profitability in what is a very labour-intensive sector."

Commenting on the local authority rates grant, he said that many of the very businesses that need this support are unable to avail of the scheme. This is because businesses with commercial rates greater than €30,000 are excluded.

"Hotels pay disproportionate levels of commercial rates relative to other small businesses, which means that many small hotels that should be part of the scheme are excluded.

"The average 25-bedroom hotel, for example, pays rates above the €30,000 threshold and is therefore disqualified, while other businesses with much higher levels of turnover and profit are included. It just makes no sense when these are the very businesses that the Government should be supporting."

In relation to the increased Government funding for energy efficiency grants, he argues that, while this is "a move in the right direction", greater levels of targeted supports are required to assist tourism and hospitality businesses meet their sustainability and carbon reduction goals.