Eamon Ryan has hit out at Dublin hotel prices for the night Taylor Swift is playing in Dublin.
The American singer is one of the biggest names in music and has announced back-to-back concerts in the Aviva Stadium on 28th and 29th June next year.
However, any Swifties who live outside of Dublin could find the price of the ticket is the cheapest thing about the event - with some hotels set to hike their prices with the influx of fans for the weekend.
Prices on Booking.com for some hotels appear to be as much as three times higher for the weekend of the concerts – although the Irish Hotels’ Federation has warned that this is because booking agents often list a standard price of €999.99 when a date is farther than one year out.
Hotels have noted that far lower prices are available if you contact them directly.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, the Environment Minister said the listed prices are far too high.
“It’s shocking,” he said.
“It’s not worth it, it’s not right.
“We’ve a real problem when you get that sort of pricing - it does a lot of reputational damage to the city and the country.”
Last year, then-Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said hotel price gouging would be “taken into account” in the autumn budget.
He later announced that the VAT rate for the hospitality sector - which had been cut to 9% during lockdown - would return to 13% in September 2023.
Minister Ryan said the VAT rate is “not the reason the prices are high” and said it was hard for the Government to intervene in the issue.
“[The VAT rate] is not going to change our price level,” he said.
“It’s a very hard thing to regulate; you can’t restrict someone.
“If someone wants to sell at that price, there’s not an easy way you can come in and say, ‘You can’t.’
“But I think for the industry, it’s a real problem because very quickly then you get a reputation of being extortionate and then you lose your business.
“So, I think for the tourism industry itself, I think we have to think how we avoid that.”
In a statement to Newstalk, the Irish Hotels' Federation said:
"The vast majority of Irish hotels do not make rooms available online any earlier than one year out.
"This means that there is currently almost no hotel availability through online booking engines given that the dates for the concerts are over a year away.
"For many hotels, even shorter lead in times apply for listing rooms through online booking engines.
"This means that people looking to book at this stage should consider contacting hotels directly either through their own websites or by phone to enquire about rates and get the best value."
Main image: Split of Eamon Ryan and Taylor Swift.