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Smaller than perceived visitor numbers in Killarney – says hotelier

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EXCLUSIVE

By Sean Moriarty

 

A recent survey by hotel operators in the Killarney area revealed that the number of overseas visitors, who are staying in local hotels, are well below the perceived numbers reported in the town.

Bernadette Randles, the Chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) and owner/operator of both the Dromhall Hotel and The Randles Court Hotel in Killarney surveyed 11 different hotels in the town centre area.

The results, which did not include guesthouses, Airbnb properties, self-catering units and camping and caravan facilities, found that there were no overseas tourists booked into to IHF member properties last weekend.

The findings go against colloquial evidence that suggest Killarney is overrun with foreign tourists as locals continue to remain very nervous about the potential spread of COVID-19 in the locality.

Ms Randles said local IHF members were taking every precaution possible to ensure both staff and permitted guests remain safe in the current challenging climate.

These include monitoring email addresses and mobile phone numbers at the time of booking. She also reported a large number of ‘no shows’ from American visitors who made their bookings in February but have decided now not to travel.

She explained that one of the reasons there is a perception that there are a lot of foreign visitors in the area is because international citizens who now live in Ireland full-time are enjoying staycations.

“I am aware of one booking from an Italian family who were at pains to point out they have been living in Dublin for the last 10 years,” she told the Killarney Advertiser yesterday (Thursday). “Another hotel took a booking from a Scottish man. It was clear from his accent he was Scottish but he has been living Tulla, Co Clare for years. There has been a long tradition of Northern Irish visitors coming to Killarney in and around the July 12 weekend as they do not want to be part of the parade culture that exists there at this time.”

SELF-ISOLATION RULES

She is calling for more Government support and feels hoteliers are been asked to police the so called ‘self -isolation’ rules.

As it stands, overseas visitors are required to fill out a locator form and quarantine for two-weeks. However, the law is vague in this matter and the only legal requirement is to fill out the form. Visitors are free to nominate a hotel as their quarantine location.

Ms Randles feels this is an unfair position to place hotel owners in.

Despite taking every precaution in the pre-booking process she admits that it is possible that some bookings will slip through the net.

“What am I supposed to do if an American family arrive at my reception looking for a bed,” she asked. “I can’t turf them out on the street, I will have to give them a room, but one that is in a quieter portion of the hotel. I would give them the room for one night only, I would report it the HSE and inform members of the IHF in the area. I won’t be able to sell that room for another two or three days after they leave as I can’t ask my staff to clean that room. The Government need to give us clear directions and take charge of this. How can we police it? It is unfair on hotels to expect them to do it, we must protect staff too.”

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Picture This announce Killarney gigs

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18. These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album […]

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Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18.

These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album ‘Life in Colour’ set to be released June 25 via Republic Records.

“We are so excited to be playing at the INEC Arena this December,” Picture This frontman, Ryan Hennessy said.

“It is a place that holds many fond memories for us from starting out in the Acoustic Club to selling out the arena in record time. We have missed the atmosphere and the people so much and can’t wait to be reunited!”

Representing music’s biggest global underdog story, Picture This have unassumingly captivated listeners in every corner of the world, amassing nearly 300 million total streams, selling out stadiums, and inspiring praise from Billboard, ThisSongIsSick, and many more.

Their new album ‘Life in Colour’ boasts hits such as ‘Things Are Different’, ‘LA House Party’ and ‘Unconditional’. Thus far, tracks from the record have already gathered over 25 million total streams and counting prior to its arrival.

Tickets from €49.90 plus booking fees for these exclusive shows go on sale this Friday at 9am www.inec.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie.

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Renowned chef to host men’s charity cookery demo

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To celebrate International Men’s Health Week, cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has organised a live cookery demonstration with renowned chef, Mark Doe.

It takes place on Tuesday next, June 15.

Open to all men dealing with cancer, the free Zoom cook-along event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, where the famous Just Cooking cookery school founder will share some of his expertise with participants.

Mark has chosen a simple marinated chicken in pitta bread with wedges and coleslaw as his dish of choice for the evening, and will be taking participants through the steps to create their very own meal via this live cook-along event.

“We wanted to do something special to mark International Men’s Health Week and we are honoured that Mark has agreed to come on board to host this exciting event,” Recovery Haven manager Siobhan MacSweeney said.

“The free event is open to all men who are dealing with cancer, not just our own clients, so we are encouraging as many men as possible to sign up for what promises to be a great, fun evening.”

Anyone interested in taking part is required to register in advance by phoning Recovery Haven Kerry on 066 7192122.

Once registered you will receive a Zoom link to join the cook-along on the evening as well as the list of ingredients you will need.

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Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

  Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry. Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the […]

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Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is “such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover”.
 
Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

“Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism,” Pat O’Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans.”

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

“Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service,” Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

“Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity.”

 

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