September 24, 2020
Business News

Fears for Waterford jobs as hotel bookings tumble

As wet pubs across Waterford prepare to reopen on September 21 another sector of the hospitality trade is reported to be in serious trouble.

With the summer season finished, hotels and guesthouses are now recording a 70% drop in projected revenues and the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) fears that close to 5,000 jobs could be lost in Waterford city and county.

Waterford, and the region generally, is doing better than the rest of the country but  bookings for September and October have plunged with average room occupancy levels in the South East standing at 41%.

The South West (31%) is the next best region. The national room occupancy rate is  24% and in Dublin it is down to 12% across the city and county.

Locally, hotels in Waterford county are doing better than those in the city.

City hotels throughout the country have been hit by the cancellation of concerts and conferences and the ban on crowds at sporting events.

In cities, excluding Dublin, the average occupancy rate is down to 24%, according to figures from a survey conducted for the IHF .

Colm Neville, chair of the South East branch, said that the figures highlight the requirement for further specific measures to support Irish tourism.

“Our industry is operating in a quasi-lockdown,” he said. “The existing supports are totally inadequate for our industry given the current restrictions. If appropriate measures are not put in place, more jobs will be lost.”

Before the Covid  crisis, tourism supported 6,300 jobs in Waterford, contributing €138m to the local economy.

“With a predicted revenue loss of €100m, 4,600 of these jobs are now under threat,” said Mr Neville.

He said measures contained in the Government’s stimulus package do not go far enough.

Mr Neveille called for an extension of the local Authority Rates Waiver and a reduction in tourism VAT to 9%. He urged an extension of the number of people who can attend indoor gatherings or sit at the same table and better tracking, tracing and testing to “restore international travel safely as soon as possible”.

 

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