Hoteliers say their businesses are devastated

Bernadette Randles: “Some industries, like tourism, have been far more severely affected”

HOTEL and guesthouse owners in Kerry have again reiterated their call on the government to introduce measures that will tackle the catastrophic crisis facing many businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation, Bernadette Randles, acknowledged the great progress being made by the government, the chief medical officer, health professionals and society in general in suppressing the disease but she stressed that it is now time to address the need for people to have livelihoods after the pandemic.

Ms Randles called on the government to urgently seek assistance from the proposed EU Recovery Fund to combat the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic and, she said, a package of specific supports is required that recognises the unique challenges facing Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.

“The June bank holiday traditionally marks the start of the holiday season, yet thousands of tourism businesses across the country remain closed due to the pandemic, including 90 per cent of hotels.

“Here in Kerry tourism supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592 million in local revenues before this crisis. Further delays in providing support measures could have devastating implications that may take decades to recover,” the Kerry IHF chief stated.

And, she insisted, the various business and employment supports that have been introduced already do not go far enough.

“Some industries, like tourism, have been far more severely affected and face a more challenging road to recovery and this is not being adequately recognised.

“There must be compensation for those businesses that have been devastated for the common good,” she said.

The Kerry branch of the IHF wants liquidity measures tailored to the specific challenges facing tourism businesses to help them survive and restart, a reduction in tourism VAT on a permanent basis, a continuation of the job subsidy scheme and an extension of the three-month waiver period for local authority rates and charges.

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