Over 400 hotel and guesthouse owners are in Meath for the 76th annual conference of the Irish Hotels Federation, which takes place in the Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim.
Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair will be speaking at the conference today around the topic of aviation driving tourism.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport will attend the gala dinner tonight.
Under the chairmanship of broadcaster and journalist Olivia O’Leary, speakers at the conference include: Michael Ring, TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; and Michael Vaughan, President, Irish Hotels Federation.
This year’s conference is significant in terms of assessing the challenges facing the hotels sector and the actions required to ensure Irish tourism achieves a sustained recovery and lives up to its full potential as an engine for job creation across the country.
An industry survey carried out by the IHF found that the high cost of doing business in Ireland is the single most pressing issue for Irish hotels and guesthouses.
Speaking on the eve of the IHF’s 76th Annual Conference, Michael Vaughan, President called for immediate and radical Government action to tackle public sector costs, including local authority rates, water charges and energy-related levies. He called for a clearly defined national competitiveness strategy for all business costs under the control of the Government.
The survey, which was carried out earlier this month, cites excessive local authority rates as the most critical issue facing hoteliers in terms of cost competitiveness. The IHF stressed that this is stifling Irish tourism’s ability to compete more effectively for domestic and overseas tourists.
“The hotels sector stabilised in 2013 largely as a result of the relentless work of hotels and guesthouses to slash costs where there was any level of flexibility. We have brought costs down by a massive 24% since 2008. Hotels are now much leaner, having restructured their business models throughout the downturn, improved their products and lowered prices. There is nowhere else for hoteliers to go to cut cost and increase our competitiveness.” says Mr Vaughan. “Government determined costs on the other hand have not changed to adapt to the new economic reality.”