Paul Diver of the Irish Hotels Federation.
The majority of hoteliers and guest house owners in Donegal and across the country are reporting continued growth in business compared to last year according to the latest quarterly barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
However, the survey also shows that the industry is feeling the effects of the fall in the value of Sterling with one in three hoteliers (36%) saying that it has negatively impacted their business. This comes as the latest figures from the CSO show that while visitors from Great Britain are up 9% year on year, the rate of growth has slowed.
The UK market accounts for approximately 40% of overseas visitors, making it Ireland’s largest source of inbound tourists, which highlights the potential exposure of Donegal’s tourism industry.
The growth in business levels from US, meanwhile, shows no signs of waning. Visitor numbers from North America are up by 15% year to date, with two thirds of hoteliers (66%) reporting an increase in business levels from this market. Thirty eight percent (38%) of hotels and guesthouses are also seeing an increase in visitors from Germany while 30% are benefiting from an increase in visitors from France. Visitor numbers from the rest of Europe are up by 11%. Domestic tourism is also still on the increase. Seven out of ten hoteliers (71%) are reporting that business levels are up compared to last year as consumer sentiment at home continues to improve.
Paul Diver, Chair of the Donegal Branch of the IHF says “Visitor numbers are up overall, which is good news. Tourism now supports 6,600 jobs in Donegal and contributes some €179m to the local economy annually. However the impact from the fall in Sterling’s value and the slowdown in growth are worrying and leave no room for complacency. We are doing our best to maintain competitiveness through constant monitoring of costs so that we continue to deliver good value to all visitors and especially visitors from the UK. The pro-tourism measures of the Government are vital too and the latest barometer shows just how critical the Government’s recent decision to retain the 9% VAT rate was to the industry that is so price-sensitive and vulnerable to external economic shocks.”