With the June reopening of hotels announced, hoteliers are calling on the Government to adopt the proposed EU Covid-19 Travel Certificate, writes Shauna McCrudden
Last week, the Government set out a reopening plan for the economy and announced that hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation can open again on 2nd June, subject to the public health situation at the time. The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed this announcement with Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, IHF President, saying the news was a much-needed confidence builder for guests and businesses alike.
“Guests can now book a well-deserved break or holiday, knowing they will get to enjoy it, while the hotel and guesthouse community can plan properly for a sustainable reopening for their businesses and employees.”
With the significant progress of the vaccination roll-out across the country, the IHF is calling on the Government to adopt the proposed EU Covid-19 Travel Certificate, as well as developing plans to facilitate other vaccinated international travellers, particularly from North America.
“The clarity given by the Government is critical and should give a confidence boost to consumers who are planning a break or a staycation over the coming months. The domestic market was a real positive last year and will be very important for the hotel sector again this summer.
“While booking levels have been low so far, we expect that will change now, and I would encourage anyone planning a break to book early. There is excellent value and availability right across the country at present. I would also urge people to make direct contact with hotels, so they can be sure of getting the most suitable and best available packages for them.”
While acknowledging that the main focus of the tourism industry will be on the domestic market this year, the IHF is calling on the Government to implement the EU Covid-19 Travel Certificate at the same time as other European countries. Ms Kane says, “This would send a very clear signal that Ireland is reopening for tourism when it is safe to travel. As an island nation, international tourism is critically important. It’s also highly competitive, and we are already seeing other markets giving commitments around reopening to allow for booking lead times.
“Provision must also be made for vaccinated travellers from other primary markets such as the USA, who typically travel in the autumn. As vaccinated travellers with a huge desire to visit Ireland, they are struggling to understand why there is currently no provision for them. This must be addressed as soon as possible in recognition of their booking lead times and with potential travel corridors being put in place.”
Ms Kane expressed the IHF’s disappointment that dining will be limited, initially to residents only. She asks that this be reviewed as hotels provide very safe, highly controlled, spacious environments with extensive measures and training in place to minimise the risk from Covid-19.
The IHF is calling for a firm commitment from the Government on business and employment supports, as the hotel sector has a vital role to play in ensuring Irish tourism and hospitality returns to a more stable footing in the months ahead. It can help to sustain thousands of businesses and almost 270,000 livelihoods throughout the country.
“The summer months are always important for the tourism industry, and for many, they are a life-buoy for the remainder of the year. However, our industry has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and with some level of restrictions likely for some time to come, tourism recovery is not going to begin in earnest until 2022. The supports to date have been very welcome, but it is essential that the Government provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond.”
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