Hoteliers caution against complacency in the face of Brexit
The tourism and hospitality sector has been warned that it cannot afford to be complacent as the fall-out from Brexit continues.
With UK visitor numbers down 6pc year on year according to the latest CSO figures, three in five hotel and guesthouse owners say the weakened sterling has had a negative effect on their business during 2017.
Mr Joe Dolan, president of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said that while visitor numbers overall may still be up, the tourism and hospitality sector cannot afford to be complacent about the future.
"The continued fall-out from Brexit and the slowdown in visitor growth are worrying as they have a significant regional bias," Mr Dolan said.
Mr Dolan went on to say that the industry must diversify into new markets, but that this cannot come at the expense of existing markets "particularly the UK".
Growth in overseas visitor numbers from other markets – especially US, France and Germany – as well as a strong performance in the domestic market have helped the tourism and hospitality sector compensate for the fall in UK, with three quarters of hoteliers seeing an increase in business from the domestic market this year.
Nearly seven in ten hoteliers said their US business had increased, according to data from the IHF.
Business from continental Europe also continued to grow, with over half of the hoteliers reporting an increase in business from Germany, and almost four in ten seeing an increase in business from the French market.
Overall the increase in visitors from the US and continental Europe means that growth in the sector continued to October 2017, however at a slower pace than during the same period last year.