The boom is back in tourism.
There has been a major recovery in the domestic market and the end result is that more people are enjoying breaks and hotels have to remain open later in the season to cope with demand.
John Brennan of the Park Hotel in Kenmare told the Let’s Talk Tourism conference in Killarney that his hotel always closed at the end of October because it was so quiet there was no point opening. This year, however, the Park will remain open until December 10 and occupancy levels are already at 70 per cent for the six extra weeks.
“We have gone from seven months to a ten and a half month extension and we are aiming for a 12-month base,” he said.
Mr Brennan, who also has a luxury glamping business, said businesses should encourage more people to visit in November and December when it is much easier to drive around and see the sights and they can be encouraged to enjoy novel pastimes, such as storm watching.
He said on a recent visit to a trade fair in Moscow, attended by 500 travel professionals, he was amazed that the vast majority of them knew all about the Wild Atlantic Way.
“All these little niche things are what will help Ireland,” the Park Hotel managing director said.
Helena Healy, CEO of B+B Ireland, also stressed the importance of extending the season and staying open as long as the demand is there.
“You have to ensure you have somewhere for people to eat on a Monday night in November,” she said.