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Kerry Hoteliers upbeat for 2018

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Hotel and guesthouse owners in Kerry and across the country are reporting a good start to the year according to an industry survey undertaken by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) in advance of its 80th Annual Conference in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Co Cavan. Most are forecasting an increase in business levels for 2018 with advance bookings up from domestic and key overseas markets, helping to offset the drop in bookings from the UK, Ireland’s largest market, where visitor numbers continue to fall.  The high cost of doing business, including insurance, continues to be a major concern.

Seven in ten (72%) hoteliers say their overall business levels are up compared to this time last year, with a similar number (68%) reporting an increase in advance bookings for the remainder of the year. Business levels from the US look set to remain strong with over half of hoteliers surveyed reporting an increase in business from this market. Visitor numbers are up too from continental Europe with almost a third (32%) reporting an increase in business from Germany and nearly a quarter (23%) seeing a rise from France. Closer to home the domestic market remains buoyant with almost seven in ten (67%) of hoteliers seeing an increase in home-grown business. However, in contrast, the UK market remains a significant concern with over half (56%) of hoteliers reporting a drop in business from Great Britain compared to this time last year and almost four in ten seeing a drop from Northern Ireland.

Patrick O’Donoghue, Chair, Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation said that overall hoteliers are confident about the outlook for 2018, but not complacent. “The increase in business levels that we are seeing from key international markets and from within Ireland itself, following on from strong growth in recent years, gives us some confidence. However, the negative effect on visitor numbers from the weakened sterling and uncertainty over Brexit reminds us that we’re an island nation, dependent on the vagaries of other, larger economies, and there is never room for complacency,” he said. Tourism currently supports 11,900 jobs in Kerry and contributes some €508 million to the local economy annually.

“We operate in a price sensitive sector where we compete with the UK for overseas visitors. A sustained fall in sterling could have a negative effect on visitor numbers from other markets who may opt instead to go to the UK. Cost-competitiveness is critical. Government cannot influence the economic conditions affecting other countries but there is a wide policy range of measures within their control that can enhance competitiveness. The 9% VAT rate and zero travel tax, for example, have been hugely significant in underpinning the recovery of the tourism sector.  However, more needs to be done to bring down the high costs that are stifling business in Ireland such as insurance, where the costs are now so high they are a significant concern for almost nine in ten hoteliers (88%),” he said.

Mr O’Donoghue added, “It is important that there is a continued commitment to enhancing and developing the experiences that we offer visitors - from at home and overseas. The hotel sector has an important role to play here and, as our member survey highlights, most hoteliers across the country are planning to invest in their properties this year – from expansion in some cases, to refurbishment, or investing in new technology to upgrade existing operational and guest services.

“But, it’s also about market diversification and reinvigorating our tourism brand, to create compelling offers that appeal to new markets while at the same time helping us to consolidate our market share in existing markets. More needs to be done, especially in regional tourism marketing. There are parts of the country like the Shannon Corridor, which have much to offer and with the right support they could expand Ireland’s tourism offering and greatly benefit the rural economy,” he added. According to the IHF survey, two thirds of hoteliers are already planning to increase their own marketing spend during 2018 in a bid to attract more visitors to their areas.

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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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