More hotel space is needed in Galway to accommodate the growing number of overseas tourists coming every year Fáilte Ireland is insisting.
Galway is expected to add an additional 500 new hotel rooms in the next five years. 56 rooms will be added by the end of this year, with another 234 rooms across six different hotel projects coming online by the end of 2020.
At least 200 more rooms are expected to come online by 2022. Altogether this represents a 17% increase in Galway’s room stock, the majority of which will be in four star hotels.
Despite this, the tourist agency is warning that this will fall short of what’s needed to accommodate growing demand as overseas tourist numbers are expected to rise by 20% in the next five years.
In its latest report on accommodation availability, Fáilte Ireland has said there are major invest opportunities in Galway and two other cities for new hotels and other room stock.
According to the report Kilkenny and Cork are also going through a shortage of space for tourists to stay.
Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly revealed these figures this week at the Bank of Ireland’s Annual Hotel Sector Breakfast Briefing.
It was a morning of positive news for Irish tourism as he reported an 8% rise in tourism revenue this year, and the creation of 20,000 jobs connected to tourism.
It’s expected that 2019 will see a further 5% increase in tourism revenue, a trend that is projected to continue in coming years.
“The challenge of sustaining this growth in the long-term is to ensure Ireland has an adequate accommodation supply,” Mr Kelly said.
“While there is a future supply of hotel beds in the pipeline for Cork and Galway, looking at the current and projected levels of visitor demand,” he continued.
“There is certainly still a strong case for more investors and businesses to move into the sector and consider each of these cities for investment.”
In Cork 934 hotel rooms are expected to be added to the city’s capacity in the next five years, growth of more than a third.
But Kilkenny is facing more of a choke point with just 41 new rooms coming on stream by 2022, a minuscule growth of just 4%.
The Analysis of Tourism Accommodation in Cork, Galway, and Kilkenny was commission by Fáillte Ireland and carried out by Fitzpatrick Associates Economic Consultants.
It focused on hotels because despite the growth of services like Airbnb, hotels still make up 80% of the rooms for tourists in Galway and these other cities.
“Getting a future view of supply and demand in this way allows us to be ahead of the curve in calling for investment now,” said Paul Kelly, “and ensuring that cities don’t suffer excessive price inflation down the line.