Kilkenny hotelier says many hotels may not reopen until next year

Level 3 Restrictions have seen many many hotels shut down.

A prominent local hotelier is warning that many hotels may not reopen until 2021.

Colin Ahern, General Manager of Kilkenny’s Ormonde Hotel, says current Level 3 restrictions are crippling the hospitality sector.

It comes as the latest survey by the Irish Hotels Federation shows that Kilkenny’s hotel occupancy rate is at just 16% for this month, November and December.

Colin says hotels nationwide are already deciding to close until next February;

“Just to give you an idea, from my business, we would have had this time last year 145 employees, that has fallen this year, because business has dropped, to 115. But from next week we’ll have 25 people employed in the business. So really it’s been devastating and I suppose many businesses now, and a quick search of social media will show you that, many hospitality businesses have already made the decision not to reopen their doors until next February”.

Meanwhile, the government is considering cutting the VAT rate for the hospitality industry ahead of next week’s budget.

The struggling sector has called for it to be reduced from 13 to 9 per cent to help businesses during the pandemic.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar says it’s a proposal that’s being looked at;

“The Budget isn’t written yet but of course the kind of things we’re looking at are the VAT rate in the hospitality sector, Catherine Martin and I met the tourism industry just yesterday, that’ll be a big issue for them, and obviously commercial rates- whether we can extend the rates holiday.”