Ukraine refugees takes up tourist beds hampering Irish tourism

 Friday, March 31, 2023 


Ireland’s tourism leaders have asked for a “more balanced approach” to housing migrants.

They were testifying before an Irish parliamentary committee, which heard that 32% of tourist beds outside of Dublin are being utilised for humanitarian purposes.

According to Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, the figure in County Donegal was 50%.

He stated that the business was willing to contribute, but that the availability of tourist accommodations was now “seriously hampered.”

The sentiment was shared by Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, who stated that the industry “desperately” needs hotel rooms to be restored to tourism as soon as possible.

According to official estimates, around 75,000 individuals have fled to Ireland to escape the conflict in Ukraine, with non-Ukrainian asylum applicants also growing.

Kelly stated that the most serious sector worry was the impact on non-accommodation businesses such as visitor attractions and activity providers.

He predicted that less tourist beds would cost those firms €1 billion (£878 million) in sales this year.
He told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, and Media that inbound travel agents have told him that many travellers who wish to visit Ireland are now booking flights to other countries because they can’t find accommodation in Ireland.

He went on to say that a shortage of supply “creates conditions that facilitate pricing practises that put Ireland’s long-term image at risk.”

In December, he “conveyed a message” to providers, asking them to consider the country’s long-term value for money reputation while establishing rates.

According to O’Mara Walsh, the average daily hotel room price in Dublin in February was €150 (£131), while costs outside of Dublin were €143.

He stated that it was 26% higher than the same month in 2019, but that this was due to increases in energy, labour, and insurance costs.

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