Business sentiment slips in north west

Business sentiment across the north west has slipped, according to a new survey by the Irish Hotels Federation.

The industry survey was undertaken before the federation’s annual conference and trade fair, which is currently taking place in Galway.

While 40% of hotel and guesthouse owners across the country report an increase in business compared to this time last year, 45% are reporting a drop.

Hoteliers’ concerns about the high costs of doing business include what Michael Yates, chairman of the Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon branch of the IHF, and Paul Diver, the Donegal chairman, describe as ‘hidden costs.’

These include local authority rates, which is the single biggest cost that tourism businesses have no control over.

Other concerns include higher water charges and the threat of a disruptive Brexit.

Among those surveyed, more than 40% reported a fall in business from Northern Ireland, with more than 60% seeing a drop from Britain, although these are being offset somewhat by buoyant domestic and US markets.

However, hotel occupancy rates vary greatly between Dublin and the rest of the country.

Dublin has an an average occupancy rate of 82% but the average for hotels along the Wild Atlantic Way finished the year with an average of 65%.

Meanwhile, Michael Lennon, president of the Hotels Federation, has called on the legal profession to take what what he described as a more reasonable approach to personal injury cases.