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Tourists cancelling trips to Ireland due to soaring car rental costs

Some people are now being quoted almost €20,000 to rent a car from Dublin Airport for a week.

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Neasa Cumiskey

Tourists are cancelling their trips to Ireland because of exorbitant car rental prices as inflation skyrockets.

The cost of car rentals has soared since the pandemic hit, with prices trebling and, in some cases, quintupling since 2020.

Some people are now being quoted almost €20,000 to rent a car from Dublin Airport for a week.

On Twitter this week, Liveline presenter Joe Duffy posted a car rental quote from Dublin Airport, showing that it would cost €18,703.50 to rent a car for the week between July 30 and August 6, and described it as part of the ‘Rip Off Republic’ mentality.

Desperate tour operators are even buying vehicles and reselling them after their group has left the country instead of renting to avoid the insane prices.

Michael Vaughan, who runs the Vaughan Lodge Hotel in Lahinch, Co. Clare, said that he’s seen tourists cancel their holidays to Ireland after seeing the price of a car rental.

“I’ve had people who had booked - last minute bookings from America for three, four nights and [they] cancelled because they just couldn’t afford to rent a car here and that’s happened twice to me in the last number of weeks.

He said that tourists and tour operators alike are coming up with inventive ways to bypass the price of car rentals.

He explained that a group of Canadian tourists stayed at his hotel and were quoted €7,000 to rent a minivan for one week so they decided to hire an entire bus and driver for less instead.

“It would be cheaper to buy a second-hand car at that price. In the end, they hired a bus and a driver, which was an amazing experience, and it was far cheaper than car hire,” Mr Vaughan told Pat Kenny on Newstalk.

And he told of one of his Cork-based tour operators, who was forced to buy a second-hand minivan because it was cheaper than the quote he received for renting a car for his group.

The tour operator bought the minivan for €7,000 instead of paying €500 a day for a rental car.

When his guests finished up their tour, he simply sold the vehicle.

Mr Vaughan said that car rental is a “national tourism asset that needs to be protected” and called on the Government to help preserve the country’s tourism industry.

He said: “This is coming at a time when the golf business is coming back for individual golfers. I don’t know why the Government hasn’t put a plan in place for the recovery of tourism after Covid.”

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