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Hoteliers predict difficult winter as costs continue to rise

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By Sean Moriarty

Hoteliers in Killarney have outlined, for the first time, the challenges they face, as a result of soaring costs in all sectors.

With barely a week left in the traditional peak summer tourism season, operators are bracing themselves for a hard and long winter.

Difficulties in the hotel industry affect everyone in Kerry; in pre-COVID times the sector supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592 million in local tourism revenues annually.

“The outlook for our business will be different from October onwards and into 2023 as we deal with a number of pressing challenges including heightened uncertainty around inflation, escalating business costs, increasing risk of a global downturn and damage to consumer sentiment,” said Bernadette Randles, the chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

She revealed some of rising costs her family’s business has experienced in the last year.

“Just to put into context the points and why we make them I will give you samples from the Dromhall Hotel costs but I know all my colleagues in our industry and other industries are facing a lot of the same key challenges,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

ELECTRICITY

The ESB bill at the Dromhall Hotel has increased by €6,000 per month. In June 2021 the hotel paid €4,820.52 but in June this year they paid €11,369.69. In July 2021 the cost of electricity at the Muckross Road venue cost €5,597.09 but that had jumped to €11,892.21 by July this year.

“This is for, more or less, the same units,” explained Ms Randles.

GAS

In the same period gas prices increased substantially too. In June 2021 she paid €3,452.80 but 12 months later her bill was €4,801.45. It was much the same story in July, in 2021 the hotel paid €3,191.11 and a year later it cost €4,467.85.

“This was more or less for the same usage of litres in 2021 and 2022,” she added.

FOOD

The cost of wholesale food into restaurants and hotels has also risen dramatically.

A simple barometer is the cost of a loaf of bread. A sliced-pan cost €0.97 a year ago – today it is €1.35.

Cooking oil has increased from €22 for a 20 litre drum to €38 in the same time period while a 25kg sack of plain flour was €16 a year ago but now costs €21.

Meats like a striploin of beef went from €12.50 per Kg to €14.50 per Kg; a chicken fillet went from €0.98 cent per fillet to €1.35 which shows prices have risen dramatically.

“All these suppliers are facing the same increase in costs so hence they too have to increase their costs. It affects us all,” she added.

FUTURE

“While our industry is currently seeing a welcome recovery in tourism, this is being boosted
significantly by a number of one-off short-term factors including high levels of pent-up demand, a
temporary increase in consumer spending post COVID and displaced business from 2020 and 2021,” she said.

“A key challenge facing our business and the industry as a whole is the escalating cost of doing
business which is having a detrimental impact across all areas of our operations.”

BUDGET

The Irish Hotel Federation is calling for a number of key measures from Government as part of Budget 2023.

They include:

1. Recruitment, Training and Development: Additional funding for hospitality recruitment and career
awareness, and targeted resources for training and skills development.

2. Tourism 9% VAT: Retention of the 9% VAT rate for tourism businesses to support cost
competitiveness in line with European competitors. The majority of Europeans have a low VAT rate
on accommodation. Increasing the VAT to 13.5% would leave us with the second highest rate in the EU.

3. Investment in Tourism Marketing and Development: Continued investment and support for tourism marketing both domestically and overseas.

4. Cost of Doing Business: Improve cost competitiveness within the economy and avoid any cost increasing measures affecting tourism businesses.

5. Sustainability: Targeted funding for a national hotel retrofitting scheme to reduce carbon footprint throughout the sector in line with the Government’s climate action goals.

6. Insurance Competition: Acceleration of work with Department of Finance to attract more insurance underwriters into the Irish insurance market.

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Kerry base confirmed for Rás Mumhan

By Sean Moriarty Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster. The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster.

The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in Castleisland and will run from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

The final route has not yet been revealed but it is expected to follow a similar path to the 2022 edition.

Last year, due to organisational difficulties, the Rás Mumhan committee asked local clubs to take charge of each day of the race.

Killarney Cycling Club hosted the Easter Saturday leg of the race, including managing the stage start in the town centre, the Category One mountain climb at Bealach Oisin Pass and the stage finish in Sneem.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Easter and we wish all the riders the best of luck in their preparations for the event. Further details to follow as they are confirmed,” said Race Secretary Sinéad Moriarty.

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Showcasing Killarney to an influential audience

Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night. It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it […]

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Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night.

It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it was also a perfect opportunity to show the best of Killarney. Held in the Plaza Hotel, it was hosted by Kerry Skal President Michelle Rosney who used the occasion to highlight the best of Killarney’s performing arts talent, cuisine and locally produced drinks. There were special performances on the night by singers and dancers from St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School and the West End House School of Arts who brought The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, back to life for one night only to deliver a passionate dramatisation of a famous speech. Skal is the largest international hospitality networking organisation in the world with 13,000 members in 308 clubs in almost 90 countries. Fáilte Ireland Chairman Paul Carty said in his speech that the contribution Killarney has made to the Irish tourism industry should not be underestimated. He added that the tourism industry supports over 3,500 jobs in Killarney and over 7,000 in the rest of Kerry. He said the hard work put in by tourism professionals in Killarney over the years is paying off and when Fáilte Ireland surveyed hundreds of domestic and international tourists, at the height of the season last August, they couldn’t speak highly enough of their experience with 97 percent saying they were very satisfied. “The national figure is 90 percent so Killarney is actually seven percent higher than the national average and that’s truly exceptional,” he said. Over 55 percent of visitors to Killarney also spend time in other parts of Kerry and towns, like Dingle, Kenmare and Tralee, and really benefit from the spin-off.

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

The Fáilte Ireland chairman said his organisation is acutely aware what Killarney has faced in recent years and the challenges it currently faces and every support possible will be provided to help.

Mr Carty said Fáilte Ireland last year launched a destination experience and development plan for Killarney and that will see the town reach its full potential through sustainability and the development of year-round tourist attractions.

He said costs were also a big concern with energy bills, in particular, going through the roof and putting businesses under serious pressure.

Staffing was another serious problem for the industry as so much talent was lost during the pandemic.

“An awful lot of great people left our industry and they’re not coming back, so there is a great shortage,” he said, adding that Fáilte Ireland was working hard to overcome the difficulties being experienced.

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