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Failte Ireland in warning despite boost for hotel and guesthouse operators

Published 18/09/2016

Actors (left-right) Will O'Connell as St. Kevin, Mary Ryan as Lady Lucy Fitzgerald of Carton House and Dave Swift as William Marshall launch Ireland's Ancient East tour
Actors (left-right) Will O'Connell as St. Kevin, Mary Ryan as Lady Lucy Fitzgerald of Carton House and Dave Swift as William Marshall launch Ireland's Ancient East tour

Most hoteliers and guesthouse operators have reported a rise in business this summer when compared with last year.

Figures released by Failte Ireland also recorded increased profits and said the majority of tourism enterprises now had more staff on their books.

Despite the buoyant results, Shaun Quinn, chief executive officer of Failte Ireland, has warned against complacency.

He said: "As expected, tourism businesses across the country had another successful summer, with many recording their best season ever.

"We must keep our eye on the factors underpinning our growth - compelling visitor experiences, increased carrier capacity and a favourable exchange rate with the US dollar - and avoid strategies which, in time, could undermine our current reputation for good value."

Some 600 tourism operators were surveyed for the Failte Ireland autumn tourism barometer.

It found business was better for 84% of hoteliers and 79% of guesthouse operators when compared with the 2015 summer season.

About four out of five hoteliers (79%) and more than two-thirds (69%) of guesthouse operators also experienced increased profitability this year when compared to 2015.

The growth in profitability is reflected by an increase in staffing levels at 63% of hotels and 54% of guesthouses, Failte Ireland said.

Peak levels of confidence within the industry were also recorded, with those who stay open all year most optimistic.

The impact of Brexit was cited as the most common concern, with just about one in four (27%) paid serviced accommodation providers expecting growth from Britain over the next few months despite almost half (47%) receiving more British business this year to date.

Mr Quinn added: "The early indications are that the 2017 season is likely to be one of opportunity in terms of further growth from North America and mainland Europe, but also challenge in terms of holding market share in Britain, our largest single source market.

"Ireland is generally perceived as an extension of the domestic British holiday market and our performance there will critically depend on changes in carrier capacity and exchange rates.

"In that context, we will be intensifying our efforts to support regional and seasonal business expansion in specific growth segments of our core markets, segments where our Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East brands are now performing well."

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