Local hotel owners call for clear roadmap for reopening

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Galway daily news Plans for city centre hotel development off Eyre Square

Hotel and guesthouse owners in Galway are calling on the Government to clarify next week what the reopening of the sector will look like this summer.

Hoteliers in the county are also calling for specific measures and supports including inter-county travel which will enable businesses to plan for a safe and sustainable reopening.

Chair of the Galway branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Wayne Neilon, said that with June just over a month away, hotel bookings nationally are at an historic low, currently averaging only 22% for the key months of July and August.

He said that it is critical that the Government gives clarity to consumers and businesses as a matter of urgency.

“We are asking the Government to outline a more detailed roadmap for reopening the hotels sector safely based on clear progress markers for restrictions to be eased in line with public health improvements,” said Wayne Neilon.

“While we recognise the challenges around public health and supressing Covid that it is facing, the ongoing lack of detail is jeopardising the viability of hotels and guesthouses as they grapple with the financial and operational commitments required to be ready to reopen after months of prolonged closure.”

Mr Neilon said that booking levels have never been this low so close to the key summer months, which are a lifebuoy for many businesses for the remainder of the year.

“Unless this is turned around quickly, there will be serious implications for the recovery of our sector here in Galway and elsewhere that could take years to remedy.”

The Irish Hotels Federation is calling for the Government to commit to measures to enable hotels and guesthouses reopen safely and sustainably.

These include inter-county travel being permitted, hotels being open to all patrons whether residents or not, capacity to be linked to function room size for events, outdoor capacity to be linked to space available, plans to be put in place for easing of restrictions for family gatherings.

The federation also called for the EU Digital Green Certificate to be adopted and plans to be put in place for other vaccinated international travellers.

“We also require a commitment on business and employment supports,” added Mr Neilon.

“While the supports to date have been very welcome, it is essential that the Government provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond.

“Wait and see is not the approach for sustainable business planning and job recovery.”