Irish Hotels Federation wants VAT rate to stay at 9%
Hoteliers from around the country are gathering in Ballyconnell in Co Cavan, today after two years of restrictions and lockdowns where they will discuss how businesses are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, said the members are in direct contact with the Department of Children in relation to housing and providing services for Ukrainian refugees.
"That's what's being co-ordinated through the State, the Government, but equally there's a lot of efforts being made at a local level to support the local activity," Ms Fitzgerald Kane said.
"It's very positive it's in pockets all across the country and I suppose it's increasing as we go along, week by week, as more and more people come here," she added.
She told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that there have been some bookings cancelled again due to Covid cases in the community.
But the sector is seeing a "cautious recovery", she added.
Ms Fitzgerald Kane said the hotel group is asking the Government to keep the VAT rate at 9%. The reduced VAT rate of 9% for the hospitality sector is due to expire at the end of August this year.
"That is a hugely important factor, I suppose in terms of trying to control the inflationary pressure that's out there," she said.
She said there are "green shoots" in the economy but there is also "an expectation that tourism may not recover until up to 2024."
With the shutdown of the sector during the pandemic, and with occupancy at just 30% last year, Ms Fitzgerald Kane said it does mean that that recovery is going to take time.
She said the Government supports during the pandemic did "safeguard 270,000 tourism livelihoods".
"That's one in ten of all jobs, and 70% of those jobs are outside of Dublin and in many cases there are whole communities that are completely dependent on tourism, so I would say kudos to Government in terms of going the distance with us," the President of the Irish Hotels Federation said.
"But it's important that we are mindful of the fact that as the picture unfolds and the uncertainty that's there, that's not what was planned for," she stated.
"It's important that we continue to go the distance to support those livelihoods and to support those communities that are so dependent on tourism," she added.
In relation to pricing, she said there is huge pressure from inflation on costs, but people should shop around and book early to get the best deals in hotel stays.