The sky high price of hotels and car hire risk damaging Ireland’s reputation among international tourists, Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, has warned in a stark assessment of the industry in 2022.
Prices have risen across the economy but hotels and car rental agencies have been particularly enthusiastic about putting up their prices; Michael Vaughan, who owns Vaughan Lodge in Lahinch, recently told Newstalk that international tourists kept cancelling bookings after researching the cost of car hire.
While travel Bible Lonely Planet warned that the cost of hotels is “wreaking havoc with holidaymaker’s budgets”.
“There is a risk of damage to Ireland’s tourism offering and the promotion of Ireland as a good value destination through negative customer experience arising from the issues and challenges within the sector post-COVID,” Minister Martin admitted.
“But it is important that Ireland maintains its reputation as a value for money destination.”
Pat Dawson, CEO of the Travel Agents Association, echoed the Minister’s remarks and said he was “very concerned” about what the high prices would do to Ireland’s reputation:
“Are we getting value for money?” he queried on The Hard Shoulder.
“I don’t know, we certainly charge five star prices.
“I myself stay in Dublin an awful lot - I’m up there tomorrow - and an ordinary basic hotel is €350 to lie down for the night.
“That’s now value for money and I notice over the weekends it’s over €400.
“The COVID has been blamed for a lot of things but we can’t always say it’s about COVID and certainly we’ll see at the end of this financial year with these premises what kind of huge profits they’ll show.”
Ireland also takes the crown for the most expensive place to have a drink in Europe; data compiled by Eurostat revealed that the cost of alcohol was 205% of the EU average.
By contrast, drinking is cheapest in Bulgaria (64% of the EU average), followed by Poland (72%); Eurostat concluded the difference is mostly down to the amount of tax levied on alcohol.
Main image: A hotel room is seen in June 2009. Picture by: Brian Jackson / Alamy Stock Photo