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Irish hotels are third cheapest in Europe at €81 average a night

DUBLIN hotel room prices rose by 3pc in the first half of 2012 driven on by major events and a resurgent conference market, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI), which shows the capital's hotel market pulling away from the rest of the country.

According to the survey, the average Irish hotel room price stood at €81 in the first half of 2012, the exact same as last year.

The figure makes Irish hotels the cheapest in Europe aside from Portugal and Malta and cheaper even than Greece -- which saw its hotel prices increase from €81 to €89 over the same period.

Hotels.com says the continued stabilisation of the Irish hotel sector in general -- but the rise of the capital's fortunes in particular -- comes on the back of increasing events and conference business.

Advance bookings for festivals and concerts have also played a role.

Best value

At €79 per room, Dublin is not only cheaper than the national average but also the best value western European capital -- sharing the bottom of the HPI table with Athens and Lisbon.

Kilkenny, where the average room price is €96 -- even after an 8pc drop in rates -- was the most expensive hotel destination in Ireland while the cheapest was Limerick where the average room price stood at just €64.

Globally hotel prices rose by 4pc which means that Ireland is slightly trailing the rest of the world. Last year Ireland's hotel industry managed a 4pc rise across the board helped along by two major state visits.

The Seychelles remains the world's most expensive destination at €249 per night while Cambodia is the cheapest at €50 per night. Switzerland is Europe's most expensive at €150 per night.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) is a regular survey of hotel prices in major destinations across the world.

The HPI is based on bookings made on Hotels.com and prices shown are those actually paid by customers in the eurozone (rather than advertised rates) in the first half of 2012.

Irish Independent