Over 70 per cent say business is booming

The strong performance for domestic tourism looks set to continue into the busy summer.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

HOTELS and guesthouses owners in Kerry have reported an increase in business levels during the first six months of 2017.

As the latest CSO figures show overseas visitors were up over three per cent to the end of May, an industry survey confirms that the domestic market is also increasing with 71 per cent of hoteliers saying business levels are up compared to this time last year.

The strong performance for domestic tourism looks set to continue into the busy summer season. Over two thirds of hoteliers say bookings are up while six in 10 report that advance bookings for staycations for the remainder of 2017 are up.

The general outlook for the rest of the year appears positive overall and Ireland looks on course to surpass the 8.8 million overseas visits set last year.

More than half of hoteliers report increases in advance bookings from the United States, Germany and France. Tourism now supports 11,900 jobs in Kerry and contributes an estimated €508 million to the local economy annually.

Patrick O’Donoghue concerns over Brexit

Killarney hotelier and Kerry IHF President, Patrick O’Donoghue, warned, however, that Brexit is already impacting on tourism performance.

“Visitor numbers are up which is good news and the growth in domestic tourism is particularly encouraging. However, the latest CSO figures show a continued fall in UK visitors, our biggest market nationally, which illustrates the fragility of the tourism recovery in Kerry.”

Mr. O’Donoghue stated: “Many of the consequences of Brexit are largely outside our control, so it is imperative that we mitigate the risks and potential damage where we do have some control over our destiny”.

He added: “Ireland’s competitive tourism offering will certainly help and this is underpinned by important measures as the zero rate travel tax and the 9% tourism VAT rate which brings us into line with other countries in Europe

Mr O’Donoghue, managing director of the Gleneagle Group, said the industry must also continue to invest in product development and marketing.

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