Hoteliers question positive findings of industry survey

New report finds hotel prices up by ten per cent on average in the southwest

Stephen Fernane

PRO for the Kerry Hotels Federation, Tom Randles said a survey which cites year-on-year improvements since 2011 in the hotel sector for the south west region does not accurately reflect challenges faced by Kerry hotels in that period.

The 'Crowe Horwath Report' revealed hotels in this region shared in the positive experience of the hotel industry nationally.

Among the findings are that average room rates in the south west grew by 10 percent to €93.25 in 2016 - up from €84.71 in 2011; year-on-year growth in occupancy levels are also up from 66.8 percent in 2015 to 68.9 percent in 2016, while a 'profit per room' figure of €10,272 for 2016 is also cited.

However, Mr Randles said while the survey is a highly reputable one, it does not accurately reflect the decimation of the industry in Kerry since 2009 where steady growth did not return until 2015-'16.

"From around 2009 to 2015, Kerry hotels would have been in a loss making situation. The survey's 'profit per room' figure is a very loose one and is not accurate in the sense that it doesn't take any account of costs. Hotels in Kerry would have had increases in costs all the way from 2011 to 2016 and from a gross point of view this needs to be looked at in a little more detail," said Mr Randles.

He added that Kerry is still a challenged region which suffers from seasonality, while Brexit is also an emerging threat to the sector.

"2018 is going to present new challenges to the industry and I would add that the 9 percent vat-rate is vital to the industry. Kerry is hugely impacted by tourism, both directly and indirectly, which makes it very important to the county," he added.

Meanwhile, Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State at Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, said he welcomed the publication which provides a major insight into the health of the hotel sector.

"I must stress the critical importance of maintaining the overall competitiveness in our tourism industry at this time. Giving the tourist good value for money has been key to the turnaround in tourism performance and we cannot risk damaging our reputation in this regard," said Minister Griffin.

Kerryman

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