OMM

Kerry fears rising over Brexit threat

Tourism currently supports 15,700 jobs in Kerry and contributes some €533 million to the local economy annually.
Picture montage: Valerie O’Sullivan

DESPITE another year of growth in 2018, business sentiment among hotels in Kerry has dropped significantly, according to research conducted by the Irish Hotels Federation.

Less than half of hotels now report a positive outlook for the next 12 months compared with 82% who had a positive outlook this time last year. Key concerns for the sector include the escalating risk and uncertainty around Brexit, reduced visitors numbers from the UK and the increasing costs of doing business.

While 73% of hotels have seen some increase in overall business levels this year, growth from North America and Europe has masked the poor performance of the UK market with visitors still down five per cent on 2016 due to persistently weak performance following the referendum.

This is having a direct impact on hotels with 52% reporting a drop in business from Great Britain this year while 40% have seen a decline from Northern Ireland. The vast majority of hotels (91%) now express concern about the impact of Brexit on their business over the next 12 months.

Niamh O’Shea: Hoteliers are increasingly concerned about the direction Brexit is taking

Niamh O’Shea, Chair of the IHF’s Kerry branch, remarked: “We are increasingly concerned about the direction that Brexit is taking and the impact that heightened uncertainty is having on our sector”,

She added: “A disruptive Brexit would have enormous economic repercussions which would be felt directly by tourism businesses here in Kerry given our heavy reliance on the UK market.”

Tourism currently supports 15,700 jobs in Kerry and contributes some €533 million to the local economy annually.

There are fears that any prolonged uncertainty in the coming months could result in a further erosion of consumer sentiment.

Kerry hoteliers want the government to mitigate Brexit related risks to tourism and facilitate the continued growth of an industry that supports approximately 266,000 jobs, over 70% of which are outside Dublin.

“There are aspects of the economic environment and Brexit that are largely outside our control but it is imperative that we mitigate the risks and potential damage where we do have some control over our destiny. We have to retain our competitiveness and this means taking decisive action on the issues that are affecting the cost of doing business,” Niamh O’Shea said.

Breakdown across markets compared to last year

  • Domestic market: 71% of hotels and guesthouses are reporting an increase in visitor numbers from across Ireland during 2018 with 17% seeing no change and 12% noting a decrease
  • Britain: Only 18% are noting an increase in visitor numbers from Britain, with 31% seeing no change, and 51% seeing a decrease
  • United States: 66% of premises are noting an increase, while 26% have seen no change and 8% noting a decrease
  • Germany: 45% of hotels and guesthouses are reporting an increase, with 46%% saying they have seen no change and 9% seeing a decrease
  • France: 32% of hotels and guesthouses are noting an increase, with 53% saying they have seen no change and 15% seeing a decreaseKillarneyToday.com: We’re changing the face of local news coverage
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