A new survey from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has revealed that 78 per cent of venues in the Republic have seen their business from the UK decline and 60 per cent have seen a drop in visitors from Northern Ireland.
While one-in-three hoteliers reported an increase in business over the summer season, 64 per cent said they believed the weak pound had impacted negatively on their businesses.
And as a result of falling business levels, 73 per cent of those owners polled said that they were taking another look at their investment plans, with a more cautious approach likely in the new year.
Fears that Brexit uncertainty may be to blame for the results are strengthened by indications that business from North America and the domestic markets had strengthened. Business from the US was up in 36 per cent of hotels and 45 per cent saw an increase in stay-cation business.
Michael Lennon, the IHF president, has acknowledged that while Irish tourism has been one of the ‘great success stories’ for the economy south of the border in recent years, the high cost of doing business in Ireland and difficulty around extending the short season remained difficult. Brexit is particularly challenging in light of the RoI’s reliance on UK tourism, he added.
‘A no-deal outcome would cause enormous difficulties for the hotel sector, creating the prospect of a drop of over 10 per cent in tourism revenues from UK visitors and a decline in Irish consumer sentiment, which would have knock-on effect on domestic tourism activity,’ said Mr Lennon.