HOTELS and guesthouses owners in Cork have seen an increase in business levels during the first six months of 2017, according to the latest quarterly figures from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), but the effect of Brexit is causing concern. Â
Visitors to Ireland are up over 3% to the end of May, and the industry survey shows that the domestic market is increasing also, with seven in 10 (71%) hoteliers saying business levels are up compared to this time last year.Â
Overall, three quarters (76%) of hoteliers are reporting increased levels in business year-on-year.
The strong performance for domestic tourism looks set to continue into the busy summer season. Over two thirds (68%) of hoteliers say bookings are up while six in 10 (59%) report that advance bookings for staycations for the remainder of 2017 are up too. Â
The general outlook for the rest of the year appears positive overall and Ireland looks on course to surpass the 8.8 million overseas visits set last year. More than half of hoteliers (52%) report increases in advance bookings from the United States, 35% for Germany and 27% for France. Â Tourism now supports 20,100 jobs in Cork and contributes some â¬820m to the local economy annually.
However, Aaron Mansworth, chair of the Cork Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation warned that Brexit is already impacting on tourism performance. âVisitor numbers are up, which is good news and the growth in domestic tourism is particularly encouraging, as it extends beyond the traditional tourism hotspots and its impact on local economies can be felt more widely. However, the latest CSO figures show a continued fall in UK visitors, our biggest market nationally, which illustrates the fragility of the tourism recovery in Cork.'
Â Mr Mansworth added that Ireland's competitive tourism offering will certainly help and this is underpinned by important measures, such as the zero rate travel tax and the 9% tourism VAT rate which brings Ireland into line with other countries in Europe.