Majority of hotels planning to invest in upturn but recovery is 'two-tier'
The majority of Irish hoteliers say they will be investing in refurbishment or marketing their hotels this year, following their best year for business in over a decade.
A survey carried out on behalf of the Irish Hotels' Federation (IHF) reveals 93pc are to increase investment, with 82pc reporting a rise in business so far this year, and 80pc seeing a jump in advance bookings.
The IHF says the tourism sector is on track to create 40,000 new jobs by 2021.
Speaking at the IHF annual conference in Killarney, president Stephen McNally said the strong growth achieved in tourism over the last three years was spreading with an upturn now in most rural areas.
"We're off to a very positive start this year, building on the gains achieved in 2015 which saw more than 8.5 million overseas visits to our shores," Mr McNally said. However, the recovery is not being felt throughout the country and one in five hoteliers (22pc) say they're concerned about the viability of their businesses.
John O'Neill, who owns the 30-bedroom 'Hamlet Court' in Johnstown Bridge in Enfield, is paying €69,000 in council rates, regardless of occupancy.
"Our big issue is we're still carrying the overheads of the Celtic Tiger and not being on the main tourist trail or the centre of a large urban centre, we don't have the same footfall.
"We've not have a price increase in three years so our margins are under pressure."