'No hope' of meeting hotel room demand
Dublin "hasn't a hope" of building enough hotel rooms to meet demand by 2020, the CEO of Ireland's biggest hotel group has warned.
Tourism bodies have repeatedly said that more than 5,000 new hotel rooms are needed by 2020.
While a number of new hotels are being built and existing ones extended, Dalata boss Pat McCann said it is likely that only 3,000 new rooms will be ready for use within three years.
"There are things beginning to bite now for potential developers," Mr McCann said.
"One is the availability of funding for hotel projects. The second is building inflation and getting companies and tradesmen to do the work - that's a big challenge.
"When you look at all the offices and residential that has to be built, the hotel sector will struggle to find builders and skilled tradesmen.
"There's a big challenge coming down the line on that."
He said the lack of necessary construction workers is particularly acute in Dublin.
"Next year, about 1,200 new hotel rooms will be added in Dublin," Mr McCann said (Dalata will account for about 600 of those).
"When you look forward to 2019, there's an expectation of 2,000 more rooms, but I think that number will fall.
"By the end of 2020, if there are 3,000 additional rooms in Dublin it will be good going."
Mr McCann was speaking as Dalata reported profits of €32.7m for the first half of the year, an 80pc increase on the first six months of 2016, as a surge in average room rates helped the bottom line.
Revenue rose 24.4pc to €161.8m, with the results ahead of expectations. Dalata shares jumped 7.7pc, catapulting its market value to almost €1bn.