The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), which has been meeting in conference at Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, has elected Stephen McNally as its newly elected president. Stephen becomes the 35th President of the IHF, succeeding Michael Vaughan, and will hold the office for a two-year term. The IHF is the premier representative tourism body in Ireland representing over 900 hotels and guesthouses which, combined, employ over 54,000 people throughout the country.
Stephen has worked for over 30 years in the hotel sector and is Deputy CEO of Dalata Hotel Group which is Ireland’s largest hotel group operating 34 hotels spread across fifteen counties, with over 5,400 bedrooms and more than 3,500 employees. During his presidency, Stephen will address the many issues facing the hotel and guesthouse sector, with particular emphasis on competitiveness and support for those properties that have experienced financial distress in recent years.
“The Irish economy remains fragile, especially outside the large cities. I will intend to work with Government and national tourism bodies, to maintain competitiveness and ensure growth plans are not challenged by increased legislation. I would like a five-year commitment from Government to maintain current VAT rates, to give Ireland realistic opportunity to reach 10m overseas visitors by 2020. For the first time in over ten years, Ireland is perceived as value for money. We must maintain our focus on increasing sales and not be distracted by further burdensome legislation in relation to employment,” says Mr McNally.
“Many hotel owners around the country continue to experience financial distress and we aim to provide members with improved support and advice to assist them in finding solutions to safeguard their livelihoods. Following an extremely challenging six years, we must now power on and work together with our tourism partners and the Government to increase tourist numbers into the next decade. Increased tourism numbers means more jobs. Our industry has created 23,000 jobs since 2011, and this will continue as the economy improves.”
Originally from Enfield, Stephen is a graduate of Rockwell Hotel and Catering School. He completed the Ramada Hotel Management programme and, subsequently, business courses at London Business School and UCD Michael Smurfit Business School. Following graduation from Rockwell, Stephen worked internationally in a number of management roles across the UK and Germany with the Ramada Hotel Group. Returning to Ireland in the late 1980s, he became General Manager with Jurys Hotel Group at the age of 27. He went on to hold a number of senior management roles within that Company which became Jurys Doyle Hotel Group and, from 2000, was Group General Manager for the Company’s operations in Ireland, the UK and USA. He joined Dalata Hotel Group in 2007 as Director and Deputy CEO.
Stephen has been an active member of the IHF for many years. He currently serves as a member of its National Executive Council and has been Honorary Treasurer of the IHF for a number of years. Married to Edel with two children, Stephen is an avid sports fan.