While indoor dining welcome, failure to allow inter-county travel will have enormous impact on hotel livelihoods


27th November 2020      Hotels and guesthouses have expressed their deep disappointment at details of the revised Covid restrictions announced by the Government today. Tim Fenn, Chief Executive, Irish Hotels Federation described the decision not to allow inter-county travel until as far out as 18th December as short-sighted. He said: “The failure to allow inter-county travel earlier risks undermining the Government’s objective of achieving a balanced approach that ensures continued public buy-in during the build up to Christmas. We are calling on the Government to reconsider this decision.


Mr Fenn stated: “Public health is the No 1 priority, and we support the Government’s aim of reopening the country safely. However, as a result of this decision, the hotel accommodation remains effectively in extended lockdown. There is little difference between the level three announced and level five in terms of how hotels operate. Hotels could have played an important role in facilitating a safer reopening by providing very safe, highly controlled, spacious environments for people stay independent of their family home setting.


“We should be viewed as an important part of the infrastructure in enabling a safer Christmas. While we welcome the easing of restriction on indoor dining, it is deeply disappointing that the Government has chosen to compress family visits to such a short window at either side of Christmas. This will inevitably concentrate the number of gatherings in people’s homes over a short period, which poses additional avoidable risks.”


The economic implications and impact on hotel livelihoods will also be significant as many businesses will find that it is unsustainable to reopen for such a short period with continued restrictions, which will further threaten livelihoods beyond this very different festive season. Mr Fenn stated: For many hotels, bookings from within their own county would only account for less than 10% of their December business. Given the enormous loss of revenue already this year, this extended lockdown will have a devastating impact – not only on hotels, but on their local economies, employees and communities.”




Seán Lawless / Ger McCarthy

Weber Shandwick                                                        Mobile:  085 11 676 40 / 086 2333590



Notes to Editor:


Tourism sector at a glance (prior to COVID-19 pandemic)

  • 10.9 million out of state visitors
  • Tourism accounts for almost 4% of GNP
  • Total tourism revenue of €9.2 billion in 2019 (including carrier receipts)
  • Tourism industry created over 90,000 new jobs since 2011. Before the COVID-19 crisis it supported almost 270,000 jobs, equivalent to 11% of total employment in Ireland with over 65,000 of these jobs in the hotel sector alone.
  • €7.25 billion in foreign exchange earnings
  • €1.96 billion in domestic tourism revenue in 2019
  • Total of 62,897 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland (2019)


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