One third of hoteliers will not make a profit in 2015, according to members of the Irish Hotels Federation, who claim overhanging debt, commercial rates and lack of incen
tives to entice tourists beyond traditional “hotspots” are still threatening profitability.
The hoteliers are attending their annual confereence in the Slieve Russell Hotel this week and to-day's speakers include Professor Alan Ahearne, Economist, Sarah Duignan, Director of Account Management, STR Global, Aiden Murphy, Partner, Crowe
Horwath, David Zammitt, Industry Manager, Google UK Travel Team, Alan O’Neill, Change Consultant, Kara Change Management, Warren MacDonald, Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Brian Cody, Kilkenny Senior Hurling Team Manager and Minisyer Michael Ring.
Speaking at the opening of the conference at the Slieve Russell Hotel a number of hoteliers said they had deals with suppliers and staff to cut costs following the economic collapse in 2008.
While occupancy rates in Dublin rose by 3 per cent in 2014, and are set to grow by at least that much again this year, hoteliers in other areas said they had not done so well and were now facing calls for “pay back” from staff and suppliers.
A number of speakers at the conference said the recovery was fragile and the reduced 9 per cent VAT rate continued to be vital to the industry.
Hotels Federation chief executive Tim Fenn said regional tourism required greater Government support as the slower pace of recovery in some areas is a “major challenge for many hotels and guesthouses”.
Stephen McNally, President of the IHF (pictured with ceo Tim Fenn) said that the funding allocation for the State's tourism bodies has been cut back substantially since the downturn and now needs to be reinstated. He adds that, with additional funding, the Government target of 10 million visitors generating an additional 50,000 new jobs could be achieved by 2020 as opposed to the current target of 2025.