Bernadette Randles, Chair of the IHF’s Kerry branch states: “As Ireland’s largest indigenous employer, tourism supported almost 270,000 livelihoods including 15,700 in Kerry prior to the pandemic. Our industry has been hardest hit by the restrictions, and the ensuing economic and financial impact of Covid has been devastating. The Government supports so far have been critical, and a lifeline for many businesses, helping to restore employment and support the viability of businesses until we get back to a more stable footing. However, we need a firm commitment that they will be retained until the impact of the pandemic has passed. Tourism will recover, but it will take time.”
Specifically, hotel and guesthouse owners are seeking the extension of the EWSS employment supports at current levels, to help businesses retain and develop their teams over the coming months along with the extension of the local authority rates waiver until June 2022, when the summer season begins. “A failure to act decisively now would have major economic implications given the reliance of many parts of the country on tourism for prosperity and employment, including in Kerry,” says Ms Randles.
Most travel agents are already contracting for 2023, yet they have no certainty around tourism VAT, and this is undermining advance bookings and ultimately tourism’s recovery,” says Ms Randles.
Expectations are that overseas tourism into Ireland will remain severely constrained next year and is unlikely to recover to pre-Covid levels until 2024/2025.
Image shows: Bernadette Randles, Chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation with some of her colleagues from the Dromhall Hotel