Hotel and guesthouse owners across Galway are welcoming the increase in bookings that has followed the Government’s recent announcement that hotels will reopen on 2 June.
The latest survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) shows booking levels nationally now average 31% for July and 27% for August, compared to levels of 23% and 21% respectively just before the announcement.
As hotels and guesthouses prepare to reopen, Wayne Neilon, Group General Manager of Connacht Hospitality Group and the newly elected Chair of the Galway branch of the IHF, is calling on the Government to facilitate the return of vaccinated overseas travellers quickly.
He said that this would give a clear sign to overseas markets that Ireland is open for business again, similar to reopening announcements in other European countries such as Greece, Portugal and Malta.
“The increase in bookings in the past fortnight has been a welcome morale boost to our members and the thousands of people employed in Irish hotels,” said Wayne Neilon.
“The domestic market was a real positive last year and we expect home holidays to be very important for the sector again this year.
“Not surprisingly, as indicated by our latest survey, we would expect to see stronger demand in popular tourism destinations and hotels offering packages and facilities for families.”
Mr Neilon said that they are encouraging people to explore all parts across the country, as they did last year.
“There is excellent value available. Guests should shop around and contact hotels directly to find out what special offers are available, including mid-week specials for those whose dates are flexible.”
While hotels and guesthouses are not banking on significant overseas visitors this year, Mr Neilon also called on the Government to implement the EU Covid-19 Travel Certificate, expected to be approved by the EU next month, as quickly as possible.
“This would send a very clear signal that Ireland is reopening for tourism when it is safe to travel and will facilitate the necessary lead times for planning holidays and business travel. As an island nation international tourism is critically important, accounting for over 70% of tourism revenue pre-COVID,” he said.