Clare hoteliers say they’re effectively facing a write off of much of their business in 2020
The past number of weeks has seen 85% of hotels close nationwide and the majority of the 260,000 employees either laid off or having their hours significantly cut.
In normal times, the tourism industry supports around 12,000 jobs in this county.
Pubs, restaurants and hotels were among the first casualties of the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland and it could be some time before they re-open, even as restrictions begin to lift.
This has led to serious concern for those working in the sector, with the Irish Hotels Federation calling on the government to introduce a series of urgent measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their industry.
They’re calling for rates and water charges to be waived for a year; the tourism VAT rate to be slashed to zero for a year and supports for seasonal workers losing out on social welfare payments, among other measures.
The call has been backed by hoteliers here in Clare.
Seán Lally of Hotel Woodstock in Ennis says they were expecting to enjoy a very buoyant 2020 but that has now been completely shattered.
Up until the outbreak of the virus began to fully take hold, tourism supported 12,000 jobs in Clare and contributed €266 million to the local economy annually.
Many thousands of these workers are now reliant on either the emergency COVID-19 pandemic payment or the wage subsidy scheme to get by.
Hoteliers, meanwhile, are facing the difficult situation of continuing to pay the bills when they have very little revenue.
Paul Madden of the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis says they are now facing a loss of business during their peak season, posing major financial difficulties.