Brexit causes summer tourism woes as British numbers fall
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.