Braced for the Brexit storm

Rory Fitzpatrick...words of caution.
Rory Fitzpatrick...words of caution.

Business sentiment among hotels in Galway and across the country has dropped significantly – despite another year of growth in 2018.

That’s according to the latest hotel barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) which found that less than half of hotels (49%) nationally now report a positive outlook for the next twelve months compared with the 82% who had a positive outlook this time last year.

Key concerns for the sector include the escalating risk and uncertainty around Brexit, reduced visitors numbers from the UK and the increasing costs of doing business.

While 73% of hotels have seen some increase in overall business levels this year, growth from North America and Europe has masked the poor performance of the UK market with visitors still down 5% on 2016 due to persistently weak performance following the referendum.

This is having a direct impact on hotels throughout the country with 52% reporting a drop in business from Great Britain this year while 40% have seen a drop in business from Northern Ireland.

The vast majority of hotels (91%) now express concern about the impact of Brexit on their business over the next twelve months.

Rory Fitzpatrick, Chair of the IHF’s Galway branch, admitted that members were increasingly concerned about the direction that Brexit was taking and the impact that heightened uncertainty is having on the sector.

“A disruptive Brexit would have enormous economic repercussions which would be felt directly by tourism businesses here in Galway and across the country given our heavy reliance on the UK market,” he said.

Tourism currently supports 20,900 jobs in Galway and contributes some €731m to the local economy annually.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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