Plenty of room at the inn: Just 23% of Wicklow hotel beds booked for this month
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being acutely felt in the hotel sector, according to new figures from the Irish Hotel Federation.
The latest industry survey shows national occupancy levels of 23% and 26% for the peak summer months of July and August respectively, based on confirmed bookings, compared to an average of 90% for the same period last year.
Occupancy for September, traditionally a popular time for US visitors, currently stands at 22%.
IHF Wicklow branch chair, Gerard O’Brien said that the figures show there is plenty of availability in hotels and guesthouses in every county including Wicklow.
However, he added that the substantial drop in occupancy levels highlighted the unprecedented challenges facing the sector and the requirement for immediate interventions to support tourism businesses in Wicklow and across the country.
“When we look across the water to the UK, we see the decisive action taken this week by the UK Government in their Plan for Jobs. The slashing of their VAT rate from 20% to 5% is a clear sign of their commitment to support the recovery of their tourism and hospitality industry. Given how closely our economies are intertwined a similar cut here is necessary. The UK is not only Ireland’s biggest market for overseas tourists, it is also our biggest competitor,” said Mr O’Brien.
Almost 90% of hotels in Wicklow and across the country are expected to be open again by the middle of the month.
Mr O’Brien said that hotel and guesthouse owners have been heartened by the strong support from people who are donning the green jersey and taking a staycation this year.