Wexford guesthouse and hotel owners upbeat about 2017

By David tucker

HOTEL and guesthouse owners in Wexford and across the country are optimistic for their businesses in 2017, according to the newly-released Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) quarterly barometer.

It says nine out of ten (91 per cent) said they recorded increased business in 2016 while over half (57 per cent) of hotels and guesthouses grew their workforce during the year.

Coming to the end of one of the strongest tourism years since the recession, the barometer also shows that nine out of ten (89 per cent) have plans to reinvest in their properties in the New Year.

The IHF barometer highlights that some 82% of hoteliers have reported increased business this year from the home market, noting this reflects the growing number of Irish people benefitting from the upturn in the economy. However, the IHF states whilst this increase is positive, the increase in the domestic market is coming from a low base following a number of years of low consumer confidence.

Meanwhile, the industry has benefitted from an 11% increase in overseas visitors to Ireland during the year, reflecting significant growth in key markets over the past eleven months. This includes individual market growth from North America (up 18%), Britain (up 11%) and the rest of Europe (up by 9%). Tourism now supports 9,000 jobs in Wexford and contributes some €226m to the local economy annually.

However, the continued uncertainty over Brexit and the fall in the value of sterling are casting a shadow over the industry. Nine of out ten hoteliers (92%) are concerned about the impact the Brexit will have on their business in 2017.

Almost a fifth (18%) are reporting a fall in forward bookings from Northern Ireland, while almost three in ten are seeing a drop in bookings from the UK, which highlights the potential exposure of Wexford's tourism industry.

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