Monday 22 July 2019

Time to end the moveable feast of Easter, say hoteliers

Dara deFaoite

Tourism chiefs want Easter to fall on a fixed date in future to avoid disruption to business and bookings.

"This year we have St Patrick's Day falling in Easter week which is causing all sorts of disruption and confusion," said Matthew Ryan, president of the Irish Hotels Federation.

"A fixed date for Easter would simplify matters for everyone across the board and in our view is worthy of serious consideration," Mr Ryan said.

"Easter is literally a moveable feast, early one year, late the next.

"From a business perspective, a fluctuating Easter makes it difficult for forward planning, budgeting, cost control and general efficiency," said Mr Ryan.

The IHF president pointed out that in 1963, Vatican II declared it would not object to a fixed Easter and that in 1975, Pope Paul VI with the World Council of Churches, proposed Easter might be celebrated on the second Sunday of every April.

Mr Ryan was elected president of the hoteliers group at the IHF's annual conference in Kilkenny yesterday.

Outgoing president Annette Devine yesterday hit out at local authorities for "imposing archaic and anti-competitive" taxes on hotel owners.

"Hotels and guesthouses are being penalised by an antiquated taxation system of commercial rates that sees local authorities extract taxes relative to the size of premises without any recourse to the level of turnover or overheads of the business," Ms Devine said.

"This anomaly is completely out of touch with the reality of business today.

"Many businesses and professions are generating substantial turnovers while operating out of significantly smaller premises," she said.

Ms Devine also called on Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to ensure the Government absorbs Cork Airport Authority's multi-million euro debt without delay.

Minister for Tourism Seamus Brennan will address the final day of the IHF conference later today.


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