Devastation | 

Christmas hospitality 'totally wiped out' as 90pc of bookings cancelled

Mr Tangney - who operates the Firgrove and Clongibbon House hotels said he had dealt with more than 500 cancellations over recent days
Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ralph Riegel

Christmas booking cancellations are now running at 90pc for some hospitality operators.

Thousands of festive party-goers have been spooked by the surge in Covid-19 cases and fears over the new Omicron variant.

Hotel and restaurant industry executives warned their sector is facing the threat of multi-million-euro losses due to the surge in booking cancellations.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin acknowledged that hotel, restaurant and cafe owners have been hit and vowed the Government will assess what can be done to support the sector.

Hotel industry executives said their traditional Christmas bookings have been hit by more than 50pc, with the loss of office Christmas parties, large festive gatherings and school excursions.

One hotel owner, Pat Tangney, said the hospitality sector has been left devastated as a flood of cancellations over the past fortnight wrecked hopes of a strong festive trading season and a recovery from the two-year pandemic.

Mr Tangney - who operates the Firgrove and Clongibbon House hotels in Mitchelstown - said he had dealt with more than 500 cancellations over recent days.

"Not only that but we have cancellations extending right into the New Year - we have had music evenings, socials and the like all cancelled," he said.

"We tried to offer smaller groups an incentive to switch dates or rebook but it was no good. They cancelled and that was that. We had events where we had bands booked, extra staff organised and even security personnel arranged.

"Those events for St Stephen's Day and New Year's Eve are all gone - now we are worried about even our core food and drink trade."

Irish Hotels Federation official Fergal Harte said the office Christmas party trade has been "totally wiped out" over the past fortnight.

"It was a major blow because they were very important bookings for every hotelier," he said.

"We are now basically reliant on smaller groups and those bookings holding up."

Mr Harte - who runs the Kingsley Hotel in Cork - said the impact of the cancellations cannot be overstated.

Restaurant owner Dave Ryan, who operates Hanna's in Fermoy, confirmed he has had to cancel all their evening Christmas operations because of the number of large bookings being withdrawn.

The Taoiseach acknowledged the impact of booking cancellations on the hospitality sector.

"We are conscious that the decisions last week have resulted in a lot of cancellations in hospitality. That has had an impact," he said.

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