Brexit causes sum­mer tourism woes as Bri­tish num­bers fall

Wicklow People - - NEWS -

THE ever-loom­ing threat of Brexit has rained on Wick­low hote­liers’ sum­mer sea­son.

Results of the latest quar­terly barom­e­ter from the Ir­ish Ho­tels Fed­er­a­tion (IHF) re­veal that ho­tels and guest­houses are re­port­ing a con­tin­ued fall in UK vis­i­tors dur­ing the sum­mer. While busi­ness lev­els over­all were up na­tion­ally across the sum­mer months, with seven in ten hote­liers see­ing an in­crease com­pared to this time last year, 69 per cent re­ported a fall in busi­ness from Great Bri­tain with over half say­ing Northern Ire­land busi­ness lev­els had dropped too.

The weak­ened value of ster­ling is al­ready af­fect­ing busi­ness and Brian McNa­mara, Chair of the IHF’s Wick­low branch, feels the un­cer­tainty around Brexit poses a real threat to the tourism in­dus­try, with re­gional tourism likely to be hit hard­est.

Tourism cur­rently sup­ports 8,900 jobs in Wick­low and con­trib­utes some €154m to the lo­cal econ­omy an­nu­ally.

‘Many of the con­se­quences of Brexit are largely out­side our con­trol, so it is im­per­a­tive that we mit­i­gate the risks and po­ten­tial dam­age where we can. We are call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to take the nec­es­sary steps to pro­tect Ir­ish tourism and to avoid any changes in pol­icy that would weaken our sec­tor’s abil­ity to deal with the risks it faces due to Brexit.

‘The 9 per cent VAT rate for tourism, in par­tic­u­lar, con­tin­ues to de­liver enor­mous ben­e­fits to the ex­che­quer by mak­ing us more at­trac­tive as a tourism des­ti­na­tion,’ said Mr McNa­mara.

He would like to see a re­ver­sal of the cuts made to mar­ket­ing fund­ing and de­vel­op­ment in the re­ces­sion­ary years.

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