Capital businesses left to count the cost of €50m in lost concert revenue
BUSINESSES facing a €50m loss in revenue warned that the cancelled Garth Brooks concerts could cause immeasurable damage to Ireland's international reputation.
Hundreds of thousands of anticipated food, drink and souvenir sales have been lost due to the fiasco.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce said worldwide attention on the story spelled bad news for Ireland's international brand.
"The €50m was a conservative figure – but I think that goes out the window at this stage, and now we're worried about the long-term impact," Graeme McQueen told the Irish Independent.
"I've taken calls from media outlets in America, Canada and the UK all looking for comment. There's huge interest in this and it's very disappointing."
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar last night urged hotels and restaurants to give full refunds and not to impose cancellation charges on reservations connected with the Garth Brooks concerts.
"This is at heart a licensing issue, and we need to review the system to ensure that something like this does not recur," he said.
Restaurants Association chief Adrian Cummins said his industry alone would take a €15m hit, and said the fiasco has tarnished Ireland's image as a destination to host large events.
"Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions throughout Ireland will all suffer because of the lack of streamlining between industry and governmental bodies," he said.
Publicans too predict a €15m blow. And the Irish Hotels Federation described the cancellation of the gigs as "shambolic" and said it was "nothing short of a disaster for our tourism industry".
The Moran and Bewley's Hotel group, which owns six hotels across Dublin, last night said it would refund all guests who had booked rooms ahead of the concerts. The group estimates the cancellations will cost around €1.1m in lost revenue.