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As hotel heating bills reach up to €1.5m a year, hoteliers fear Budget support for energy bills will be too little

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Aaron Mansworth, group general manager of Trigon Hotels, in The Metropole Hotel in Cork. Picture: Provision

Aaron Mansworth, group general manager of Trigon Hotels, in The Metropole Hotel in Cork. Picture: Provision

Aaron Mansworth, group general manager of Trigon Hotels, in The Metropole Hotel in Cork. Picture: Provision

A major hotelier said that while Government efforts in Budget 2023 to tackle the energy cost crisis are welcome, the hospitality sector fears they simply do not go far enough.

Aaron Mansworth, managing director of the Trigon Hotels Group, said it was too early to comment on the implications of the 9pc VAT rate reportedly being restored to 13.5pc from the end of February.

But he said hoteliers were "genuinely worried" about how severely soaring oil, gas and electricity prices will impact the industry over the coming months - despite Government efforts to help cushion the blow.

In one case, Mr Mansworth said he was aware of another Irish hotelier who was looking at heating bills soaring from €400,000 just three years ago to a shocking €1.5m this year.

A Mayo hotelier warned that such were the scale of hikes in oil, gas and electricity costs that it might prove more cost-effective to shut down over the lean winter months and reopen for the busier spring-summer period - despite the fact all hoteliers would prefer to maintain year-round operations for staff continuity reasons.

"Look, of course I welcome the Government's efforts to address the energy cost crisis," Mr Mansworth said.

"We all know it is a global issue but it was very, very important that the Government did something to try and help.

"But my worry is that their measures will prove just too light for the scale of the challenge now facing the industry."

Mr Mansworth said that, from a quick review of the proposed Government interventions, hoteliers could potentially receive support for around 10pc of their energy costs.

But he said this would likely prove "a drop in the ocean" for operators that are already dealing with energy cost increases varying from 300pc to 400pc.

Mr Mansworth said the tourism and hospitality industry was extremely price sensitive - and Irish operators were desperate to keep prices as low as possible to compete with other international destinations.

However, he said that over the past few months hoteliers have been faced with nothing but input cost increases.

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"It is a very, very challenging market at the moment. Government help is always welcome but my concern is that they just didn't go far enough given the scale of what the industry is now facing this winter."

"It is going to prove to be a challenging year ahead.”

The Trigon Hotel Group includes such leading properties as the historic Metropole Hotel in Cork as well as the International Hotel and Cork Airport Hotel.


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