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'Stop targeting the hospitality sector - we're on our knees'

 

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Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said: 'The tourism and hospitality industry has become the economic frontline of the Covid crisis'

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said: 'The tourism and hospitality industry has become the economic frontline of the Covid crisis'

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said: 'The tourism and hospitality industry has become the economic frontline of the Covid crisis'

Hoteliers have warned that up to 100,000 jobs in the tourism sector are at now risk as it struggles with widespread cancellations and plummeting revenues.

Hotels and guesthouses had already reported cancellations of up to 35pc this week due to the "drip feed" of news about the potential lockdown, prior to last night's announcement, the industry said.

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said: "The tourism and hospitality industry has become the economic frontline of the Covid crisis.

"Urgent government intervention is now required in the form of additional sector-specific supports for an industry that has been disproportionately impacted by the Covid restrictions."

Livelihoods

"Prior to Covid, tourism supported 270,000 livelihoods, one-in-10 of all Irish jobs.

"Of these, 100,000 jobs have been lost already and a further 100,000 are at immediate risk."

Ms Fitzgerald Kane added: "Health and safety must always be the number-one priority and we recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve.

"However, the Government roadmap does not take into consideration the controlled environment that hotels offer in hosting guests safely.

"Furthermore, public health goes hand-in-hand with ensuring a viable economy when this pandemic has passed.

"Dublin tourism businesses, including hotels, have been particularly impacted by the restrictions, with occupancy levels and revenues plummeting. Government supports have not reflected this.

"While the effects will be felt acutely in Dublin, they will also be detrimental to many tourism businesses across the country, with Dublin residents currently accounting for between 30pc and 50pc of the domestic market.

"Already hotels and guesthouses across the country are reporting cancellations of up 35pc, due to the drip feed of news this week about the potential lockdown.

"It is also very disheartening that only six hours' notice was effectively given, which shows little understanding of how our businesses operate.

"There must be learnings from this," she said.

Donall O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said pubs that serve food and restaurants, had been open for several months without a spike in infections.

Yet, he said, still Nphet "has imposed the most severe, draconian and punishing restrictions on the hospitality sector in all of Europe".

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said: "The hospitality sector should have been allowed stay open in Dublin, or in the case of 'wet' pubs, to reopen in a safe and sustainable manner. The Government must stop unfairly targeting an entire industry that is already on its knees.

"This closure impacts not only pubs, but also drinks suppliers.

"Beer and cider in particular cannot be kept in storage for lengthy periods as both will go off," she said.

"This would be the fourth time drink would be delivered to pubs and left unused."

Drinks Ireland released a list of 25 European nations where pubs and cafés are open without restrictions.

These included Austria, Belgium and France.