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Hotel Accommodation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 7 December 2016

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ceisteanna (49)

Maria Bailey

Ceist:

49. Deputy Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the engagement his Department has had on costs within the Dublin hotel sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38696/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I welcome the improved viability of the hotel sector, given its important contribution to the economy and jobs.  However, the shortage of available hotel bedrooms in Dublin city has caused hotel room rates to increase in recent years.  While I acknowledge the need to have a fair return on investment, hotels must ensure that any increase in returns is done at an appropriate rate and in a way that visitors perceive as reasonable.  This is a point Minister Ross and I constantly stress in our engagements with the industry.

Fundamentally, the issue is one of supply and demand and in this context Fáilte Ireland released an assessment of hotel accommodation in Dublin earlier this year.  This in-depth study, which is currently being updated to reflect the most recent data, found that there is sufficient room stock either currently in development, or planned, to meet projected demand in the future.  However, due primarily to the time lag involved in putting together major construction projects, the bulk of the new room stock will not come on stream until after 2018. In that context and in order to investigate the matter further, I am currently engaged in a number of meetings with stakeholders in the accommodation area to assess what, if any, blockages there are to the provision of tourist accommodation.  I plan to engage with both Dublin City Council and Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government as part of this process.

More broadly, the Government has continued a range of supportive measures, such as the reduced VAT rate, aimed at enhancing Ireland's tourism's competitiveness.  With specific regard to factors within the Department's and Fáilte Ireland's remit, changes introduced in the revised hotel Regulations should make investment even more attractive by allowing hotel operators provide more rooms and operate at a lower cost base, thus improving hotel capacity, competitiveness and profitability.  Consumers should also benefit in terms of increased room capacity, competition and range of accommodation.

While Fáilte Ireland research shows a significant improvement since 2010 in overseas visitors' perception of value for money in Ireland, I am concerned that recent trends could undo these achievements.  We must remain vigilant, maintain these ratings and keep the focus on value and competitiveness.  To do otherwise could seriously jeopardise continued growth.  If the sector does not remain competitive and offer continued value to the visitor, it would not only risk losing the gains it has made but would also make it difficult for Government to continue supports for tourism, when so many other sectors also seek support.

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