Hotel and guesthouse owners in Galway and across the country are reporting a good start to the year according to an industry survey undertaken by the Irish Hotels Federation in advance of its 80th Annual Conference in Cavan’s Slieve Russell Hotel.
Most are forecasting an increase in business levels for 2018 with advance bookings up from domestic and key overseas markets, helping to offset the drop in bookings from the UK, Ireland’s largest market, where visitor numbers continue to fall. The high cost of doing business, including insurance, continues to be a major concern.
Seven in ten (72%) hoteliers say their overall business levels are up compared to this time last year, with a similar number (68%) reporting an increase in advance bookings for the remainder of the year. Business levels from the US look set to remain strong with over half of hoteliers surveyed reporting an increase in business from this market.
Visitor numbers are up too from continental Europe with almost a third (32%) reporting an increase in business from Germany and nearly a quarter (23%) seeing a rise from France. Closer to home the domestic market remains buoyant with almost seven in ten (67%) of hoteliers seeing an increase in home-grown business.
However, in contrast, the UK market remains a significant concern with over half (56%) of hoteliers reporting a drop in business from Great Britain compared to this time last year and almost four in ten seeing a drop from Northern Ireland.
Rory Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Galway branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, said that overall hoteliers are confident about the outlook for 2018, but not complacent.
“The increase in business levels that we are seeing from key international markets and from within Ireland itself, following on from strong growth in recent years, gives us some confidence,” he said.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.