Hotel Group Warns Of Downturn For Irish Tourism Unless 'Expensive Overseas Destination' Tag Is Redressed

One of the country's largest hotel groups has warned of a potential downturn in the domestic tourism sector unless Ireland's label of an expensive overseas destination is redressed.

Dunne Group (DG) Hotels, which comprises seven established owner managed hotels, claims that the huge increase in the number of accommodation providers across the country has not led to a corresponding drop in room rates.

The Group also says that the continued weakening of the US Dollar and strengthening of the Euro, coupled with the emergence of cheaper holiday destinations, is leading to a decrease in the number of American visitors to Ireland.

?The fact of the matter is that increasing numbers of price-conscious American tourists are deciding to ditch stays in Ireland in favour of cheaper overseas destinations?, stated Mr. Christy Power, Commercial Director, DG Hotels.

He explained, "Central Statistics Office figures for August revealed that trips to Ireland from the US decreased by 4,100 compared to the same period last year. The figures also showed that high-spending US visitors, that once dominated overall tourism numbers to Ireland, are being replaced by traditionally lower-spending tourists from Britain and other European countries. The Irish tourist sector simply cannot sustain its growth if this decline in US visitor numbers is to continue."

Mr. Power said that the Irish hospitality sector needed to take account of the situation by presenting Ireland as a more affordable tourist destination for prospective American visitors.

"Despite the considerable increase in the number of accommodation providers being established here we have not seen a significant and widespread drop in accommodation rates, as would have been expected from increased competition in the sector. Accommodation providers need to reinvent themselves and offer year round real value if their product is to be attractive to potential long-stay tourists", he indicated.

Mr. Power added, "We cannot afford to jeopardise Ireland's attractiveness as a tourist destination at a time when economists are issuing almost daily warnings of a dramatic economic slowdown. The provision of attractive room rates would help strengthen the considerable efforts of regional and national tourism promotional agencies in showcasing Ireland to overseas markets, and thus result in long-term benefits for the entire domestic sector."

Mr. Power indicated that the introduction of more attractive room rates would also help reverse a growing situation whereby visitors are staying in Ireland for shorter periods of time.

Commenting on the potential impact of lowered accommodation rates in the West of Ireland, where DG Hotels operates six hotels, Mr. Power said, "The anticipated loss of the Shannon-Heathrow service and the threat posed to Shannon Airport's transatlantic routes in an Open Skies era will further compound the problems faced by the West of Ireland's accommodation providers if they do not seek to redress the situation."

"There are operators who have taken steps to provide attractive room rates while there are many who regrettably have not yet fully grasped the long term benefits of doing so. In the long term, the Irish hospitality sector cannot afford to overprice itself and continue to lose potential American visitors to cheaper and more accessible overseas destinations", he concluded.

Meanwhile, Dunne Group (DG)Hotels has announced that it will launch a website promotion on 1st November of 5000 hotels rooms at EUR19 each . All bookings must be made on www.dghotels.com prior to 30th November while the promotion applies to the period 1st Nov 2007 to 31st March 2008.

Dunne Group (DG) Hotels comprises seven hotels, including Patrick Punch's and The Two Mile Inn (Limerick), The Woodstock (Ennis) The Fitzwilton (Waterford), The Clybaun (Galway), The Ridgepool (Ballina), and the Shannon Shamrock (Bunratty).

For more log on to www.dghotels.com.

Notes to Editor:
Mr. Christy Power, Commercial Director, DG Hotels is available for interview and further comment. To arrange please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or media ( @ ) dunphypr dot com
Photo opportunities can be arranged on request.

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
Clonboula,
Connolly,
Ennis,
County Clare
IRELAND
www.dunphypr.com
media ( @ ) dunphypr dot com
00353-868534900 (Mobile)
00353-656839692 (Fax)

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by Mark Dunphy (few years ago!)

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