Sligo hoteliers caution against complacency
Growth in overseas visitor
numbers from other markets – especially US, France and Germany – as
well as a strong performance in the domestic market have helped to
compensate for the fall in UK visitors for now. Three quarters (75%) of
hoteliers saw an increase in business from the domestic market during
2017 while nearly seven in ten (68%) said their US business had
increased. Business from continental Europe continued to grow also with
over half of the hoteliers (51%) reporting an increase
in business from Germany and almost four in ten (38%) seeing an
increase in business from the French market. The net effect though is
that overall growth is slowing, with overseas visitor numbers increasing
by just 3% to the end October 2017, compared to
a rise of over 11% at the same time last year³.
Tourism currently supports 5,700 jobs in Sligo and
contributes some €131m to the local economy annually. Fergal Ryan, Chair
of the IHF’s Sligo branch said that while visitor numbers may still be
up, the tourism and hospitality sector cannot
afford to be complacent about the future. “The continued fall-out from
and the slowdown in visitor growth are worrying as they have a
significant regional bias. For too long we have had a two-tier tourism
sector where businesses in the major cities and tourism hotspots benefit
more than the regions.
We must diversify into new markets and we welcome the work being
done in that regard. However, it cannot be at the expense of our
existing markets, particularly the UK, which has the broadest regional
and seasonal spread of visitors.
and again tourism has shown itself to be an excellent investment for
every euro spent in destination marketing. Our survey shows that
hoteliers are planning to increase their own marketing spend next year
too but more targeted investment is needed particularly in regional
marketing support and in the development of new and engaging products,”
Mr Ryan said.
added: “Hoteliers in Sligo and across the country are investing in
their properties and in staff recruitment and development to ensure that
we continue to be an attractive, value for money destination for
all visitors and especially visitors from the UK.” Nationally, nearly
nine in ten hoteliers (86%) plan to undertake refurbishment or capital
investment projects over the next year while over half (53%) expect to
increase their staff levels in 2018, with most
intending to recruit staff across all levels of their business.”
events and parties are a significant part of the business for more than
half of the hoteliers surveyed (55%). Of those, almost half (47%)
report an increase in business this festive season compared
to last with a third intending to take on additional staff for the
The tourism industry is
Ireland’s largest indigenous employer. It supports approximately 230,000
jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment – with approximately
60,000 of these jobs in the hotel sector alone. Employment in the
sector has grown by almost 60,000 since 2011, an increase of 33%. This
compares to an increase of
13% in employment throughout the
overall economy. Employment growth looks set to continue in 2018 with
over half of hoteliers expecting to increase staffing levels with
additional staff needed across all areas of business.
wage, and local authority rates are amongst the issues that are having a
very significant negative impact on the hotel sector. Rising insurance
costs are having the most impact, followed by wages
and local authority rates.
Breakdown across markets compared to last year:
Domestic market: 75% of hotels and
guesthouses are reporting an increase in visitor numbers from across
Ireland during 2017 with 23% seeing no change and 2% noting a decrease.
Britain: Only 9% are noting an increase in visitor numbers from Britain, with 29% seeing no change, and 62% seeing a decrease.
United States: 68% of premises are noting an increase, while 29% have seen no change and 5% noting a decrease.
Germany: 51% of hotels and guesthouses are reporting an increase, with 47% saying they have seen no change and 2% seeing a decrease.
France: 38% of hotels and guesthouses are noting an increase, with 57% saying they have seen no change and 5% seeing a decrease.