Failure to act will cause lasting damage

Bernadette Randles: Failure to act now will have long-term implications that could take years to repair

HOTEL and guesthouse owners in Kerry are again calling for an urgent review of business and employment supports for the hospitality sector following the announcement that it is unlikely to reopen before mid-summer.

They are also asking the government to intervene with the banks to ensure that appropriate supports and engagement processes are in place for business owners and their team members until Covid-19 has been suppressed.

Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation, warned that failure to act now will have long-term implications that could take years to repair.

“Public health must always be the number one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the government has to achieve.

“However, if the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are required now to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover,” she said.

The owner of the Dromhall and Randles Court hotels said the news at the weekend resulted in acute frustration and anxiety for many people.

Prior to the pandemic, up to 15,700 livelihoods were supported by tourism and hospitality in Kerry with the sector contributing €592 million to the local economy, she pointed out.

“Hotels and guesthouses not only provide local employment opportunities, they buy local services, source locally produced food and provide a vital infrastructure in support of local business and communities. In some parts, whole communities are built around tourism,” the Killarney hotelier added.

Tourism prior to Covid-19

  • 10.9 million out-of-state visitors
  • Tourism accounted for almost 4% of GNP
  • Total tourism revenue of €9.2 billion in 2019 (including carrier receipts)
  • Tourism industry created over 90,000 new jobs since 2011 and supported almost 270,000 jobs
  • €7.25 billion in foreign exchange earnings
  • €1.96 billion in domestic tourism revenue in 2019
  • There are 62,897 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland

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