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Brexit rains on Kerry hoteliers’ summer season

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HOTELIERS and guesthouse owners in Kerry and across the country are reporting a continued fall in business levels from the UK this summer according to the results of the latest quarterly barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).

While business levels overall were up nationally across the summer months, with seven in ten hoteliers (71%) seeing an increase compared to this time last year, most (69%) reported a fall in business from Great Britain with over half (54%) saying Northern Ireland business levels had dropped too.

The results of the industry barometer echo the latest CSO figures which show that Brexit is already having a significant impact on Irish tourism. Visitor numbers from Britain have decreased by 7.1% for the first eight months, compared to the same period last year. The UK, Ireland’s largest source of inbound tourists, accounts for over 40% of all visitors, providing the widest regional and seasonal spread.

For now, strong performances by the US and domestic markets are helping to offset the significant fall-off in business from the UK. The majority (69%) of hoteliers reported an increase in US business this summer, while almost six in ten (57%) said domestic levels are up. Business levels from these markets look set to remain buoyant for the remainder of the year with many hoteliers (52%) saying advance bookings from the domestic market are up with promising increases from the US (43%) as well as Germany (26%) and France (19%). However, over half (56%) say future bookings from Northern Ireland are down, while nearly two thirds (65%) see a drop in advance bookings from Great Britain.

The general outlook for industry over the next 12 months remains positive, according to the survey, although hoteliers’ optimism has been dented. Most say the weakened value of sterling is already affecting their business and Patrick O’Donoghue, Chair of the IHF’s Kerry branch says the uncertainty around Brexit poses a real threat to the tourism industry, with regional tourism likely to be hit hardest. Tourism currently supports 11,000 jobs in Kerry and contributes some €508m 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% VAT rate for tourism, in particular, continues to deliver enormous benefits to the exchequer by making us more attractive as a tourism destination,” he said.

Mr O’Donoghue added: “The overall rate of tourism growth is also continuing to slowdown, which is worrying. The cuts to marketing funding and development in the recessionary years should also be reversed urgently so we can entice more visitors from new and existing markets and particularly to the regions. Time and time again, Irish tourism has shown itself to be an excellent investment for every euro spent in destination marketing,” he added. Many (64%) hoteliers plan to increase their own marketing spend as they increase their efforts to grow their business both at home and abroad.

The tourism industry as a whole supports approximately 230,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment in Ireland, making it the country’s largest indigenous industry.

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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