Brexit: Republic's hoteliers express concern over future
Almost all Irish hoteliers have seen an increase in business this year, but are concerned that Brexit will have a negative impact.
And a survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) shows that hoteliers have identified local rates as the most pressing issue affecting their cost competitiveness.
The quarterly barometer from the federation reveals that 49% of hoteliers are "very concerned" about Brexit, with around 46% saying they're "concerned". The UK accounts for 40% of overseas visitors to Ireland.
The slump in the value of sterling against the euro is certain to impact the number of travellers visiting Ireland from the UK. Prior to the EU referendum, UK visitors had enjoyed a strong currency differential when visiting Ireland.
IHF president Joe Dolan said that the concerns expressed by hoteliers following the referendum reflect the "significant risks" the sector faces. He said many hotels and guesthouses are still in recovery mode. "This comes at a time when the increasing cost of doing business in Ireland already poses a serious challenge for tourism businesses," he said.
"While it is too early to predict the full effect that the decision will have on Irish tourism, there can be no room for complacency, particularly given the potential impact on visitor numbers from the UK and business levels within the domestic market."
A recent report by CBRE said that the Brexit vote "has the potential to have severe repercussions for the hotel and tourism sector in Ireland".
The latest barometer found that 30% hoteliers are still concerned about the viability of their business over the next 12 months, notwithstanding any impact from the UK's pending departure from the EU.
But 90% of hoteliers said they've seen stronger business so far this year than in the first half of 2015.
The number of overseas visitors to Ireland is 14% higher in the year to date, with the number of UK visitors up 16% in the period.
Two out of three hoteliers are seeing an increase in home-grown business with an uplift in consumer confidence leading to more people taking holidays and short breaks at home, said the IHF.
Of those hotels catering for corporate meetings and business events, 60% have seen an increase in this area of their business compared with last year, according to the IHF survey.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Dolan stressed that the 9% special Vat rate that was introduced to support the hotel and some other services sectors, remains a key component of the industry's revival.