Hoteliers upbeat about the tourism industry prospects
Irish hotels and guesthouses are more optimistic about the state of Ireland's tourism business, according to the latest Hotel Barometer Survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).
Some 87pc of respondents said they had seen an increase in business over the last 12 months. But IHF chief executive Tim Fenn said the gains from increased tourism haven't been spread evenly across the country.
"Not every part of the country is a tourism destination, so by and large hotels that are relying on domestic market income are still finding it a challenge," he told the Irish Independent.
"While there are signs of early recovery in the domestic market, the reality is that there still isn't a huge increase in the level of spending or the ability to spend," he added.
Mr Fenn said that another problem for the industry is its level of debt, estimated to be around €5.3bn.
"What's going to happen in the next couple of years is that a large number of hotels are going to be sold by receivers and banks are going to take them over and sell them on...it's a very difficult situation for a lot of people who have been involved in this industry for a long time."
Overseas visitors are driving much of the growth in the hotels industry. Figures released by the Central Statistics Office earlier this month revealed that the number of visitors to Ireland increased by 12pc in the second quarter of the year, compared with the same period last year.
Earnings from those trips - expenditure by visitors in Ireland plus air fares received from visitors by Irish carriers - rose by 18pc on the second quarter of last year.
"It's particularly encouraging that robust growth is being achieved from North America and Great Britain, which are vital overseas markets for tourism businesses throughout the country," Mr Fenn said.
"This is feeding into increased confidence on the ground, with 60pc of hoteliers planning to increase marketing spend over the next 12 months, and some 83pc planning to increase investment in refurbishment and upgrades" he added.
The survey found 36pc of respondents saw increased business from Germany, while 29pc saw an increase from France.