IHF says major drop in Kerry hotel occupancy highlights need for immediate action

Irish Hotels Federation

A substantial drop in hotel and guesthouse occupancy highlights the need for immediate interventions to support tourism businesses in Kerry and across the country.

That’s according to Irish Hotels Federation’s Kerry branch chair, Bernadette Randles, who’s also Vice President of the national organisation.

The IHF’s latest industry survey shows national occupancy levels of 23% and 26% for the peak summer months of July and August respectively, based on confirmed bookings, compared to an average of 90% for the same period last year.

Occupancy for September, traditionally a popular time for US visitors, currently stands at 22%.

IHF Vice President and Kerry branch chair, Bernadette Randles says the substantial drop in occupancy levels highlights the unprecedented challenges facing the sector, and the requirement for immediate interventions to support tourism businesses.

She notes the UK government’s VAT rate cut is a clear sign of their commitment to supporting recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Ms Randles is calling for urgent clarity on the guidelines for gatherings, in light of the decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to allow capacity for indoor gatherings including weddings to be determined by the size of the venue.

Kerry hoteliers are calling on the Government to implement a number of measures: – to continue the Wage Subsidy Scheme and include seasonal employees; the size of gatherings should be linked to venue capacity;and a reduction in tourism VAT to 5% until December 2021.

They also want an increase in grants to help tourism businesses reopen and survive; 0% interest on Government guaranteed finance; a Government supported scheme for deferral of capital and interest payments for a year; and for the three-month waiver on rates be extended for tourism businesses for a minimum of 12 months.