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Kerry hoteliers renew appeal to retain 9% tourism VAT




Kerry hotels and guesthouses have this week renewed their call on the Government to retain the 9% tourism VAT rate.

This is in response to very challenging economic headwinds facing the sector over the next 12 months.

New industry research carried out by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) indicates that the sector is now at a crucial juncture as it grapples with economic slowdowns in key overseas markets, escalating business costs and the impact of inflation on discretionary consumer expenditure.

Despite an uplift in tourism during the second half of 2022, hotel room occupancy remained significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels. Results for the year as a whole reveal that average room occupancy levels were 70% nationally and 67% for the South West.

Looking at the year ahead, overseas tourism markets continue to pose a significant challenge for Irish tourism, with many hotels and guesthouses reporting reduced levels of forward bookings compared to the same time in 2019:

· 57% report reduced bookings from Great Britain versus 2019 (12% report an increase, 31% no change)
· 48% report reduced bookings from Northern Ireland (9% report an increase, 43% no change)
· 37% report reduced bookings from the rest of Europe (17% report an increase, 46% no change)
· 41% report reduced bookings from the US (32% report an increase, 27% no change)

Of particular concern is the bleak economic outlook for the UK with inflation having reached a four-decade high and the country facing the risk of a prolonged recession.

Another pressing challenge for the hotels sector is excessive energy costs, with 85% of hotels and guesthouses very concerned about the impact this is already having on their business. Many hotels have experienced increases of upwards of 300% in energy bills compared with 2019 levels.

“With many of our key tourism markets experiencing a cost-of-living-crisis, the last thing the Government should be contemplating is an increase in consumer taxes such as tourism VAT," Bernadette Randles, IHF Kerry Branch, said.

"Consumers in Ireland and across our overseas markets are already being squeezed by exceptionally high levels of inflation and other pressures on their finances, which means there is a very real risk that many will pull back from spending on discretionary items such as holidays and breaks away. It is therefore very worrying that Government is considering an increase at this time given the impact it would have on inflation and the damage it would cause to our tourism competitiveness – resulting in Irish consumers and overseas visitors having to pay the third highest tourism VAT rate in all of Europe. The focus of the Government should instead be on safeguarding tourism livelihoods and securing the long-term sustainable recovery of our industry.”

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Trilogy of comedy on offer by Dóchas Drama

By Sean Moriarty Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week. All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted […]




By Sean Moriarty

Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week.

All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted out by the group’s members.

The opening act, ‘Flossing Around’ is written by Ger Madden and directed by Brian Bowler.

“A woman has an innate fear of the dentist. We go on the journey with her as she faces her fears, with hilarious consequences,” explained the group’s Liz Ryan.

This will be followed by ‘Faraway Hills’ which is written by Mary Quirke and directed by Michael Mills.
It is a tongue in cheek look at family life.

“A son wants to get away from small town life. His mother wants to keep him at home but his father can’t wait to see the back of him,” added Liz, who plays the mother in this short play.

Brain Bowler wrote the third instalment called ‘A Little Visitor’ which is directed by Ryan Jones.

“There are lots of misunderstandings when a hypochondriac visits a group of doctors who have other things on the their minds,” added Liz.

The run, which will feature all three performances each night, starts Wednesday next week and continues Thursday and Friday (February 8 to 10) at the Killarney Avenue Hotel. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door.


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Killarney secures three gold medals in national business awards

Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards. Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the […]




Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards.

Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the hotel and catering sectors across the country.

This year, judges received over 460 entries from 150 hotels, guest houses, country houses, restaurants, cafés, bars and catering companies from around Ireland.

“An important factor in the Gold Medal Awards is the credibility and impartial nature of the judging process. Every property that undergoes this process is subject to benchmarking against a strict set of criteria and a blind site inspection conducted by the judging panel,” said an event organiser.

“This panel comprises respected industry experts from across the hospitality, culinary and catering sectors.”

Three Killarney hotels took top awards in different categories at the awards ceremony held at the Galmont Hotel and Spa in Galway on Tuesday night.

The Great Southern Hotel was named as the best Business and Conference Hotel in Ireland.

“To be recognised among the greatest hotels in Ireland is a marvellous achievement for Great Southern. It is fantastic news and has provided all our staff with a little morale boost. Our Business & Conference partners and customers are extremely important to us with some relationships in place annually for over 30 years. Receiving this recognition for the service we provide is a fantastic achievement and testament to the incredible work of our outstanding staff,” said Michael Jacobi Managing Director said.

The best front of house team award went the staff at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa.

In the Hotel Casual Dining Experience category the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens came out on top.


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