Drop Down Menu

Donegal-based B&B group hits back 11.01.08

GUESTHOUSE owners have hit back at Fáilte Ireland which this week stated that demand for B&Bs was significantly down in 2007.
The Donegal-based Town and Country Homes Association (TCH), which represents almost 1,200 members nationally, contradicted the State tourism agency and said demand for Irish B&Bs was actually up, not down.
TCH said reports to the contrary this week were “highly misleading".
The Donegal B&B sector say business is booming despite Fáilte Ireland claims to the contrary. “B&B business is worth over €300m to the Irish economy and in 2007 we struggled to meet demand for our accommodation,” said TCH chairperson Kate Burns. “Town and Country were unable to accommodate more than 48% of 2007 booking requests. Some of this was in the tourism hotspots -
we have real difficulty getting the tour operators to go off the beaten track from the usual Kerry, Dublin and Galway routes.
"Some demand could not be met because of a shortage of B&Bs with live internet booking systems, a situation we are tackling head-on at present.”
Ms. Burns admitted there was a decline in the numbers of B&B operators due to retirement but she said, this was not a problem, in itself.
"Our challenge is to restructure the sector towards better online booking, quality products and marketing, and to get better support for the regions, where so many of our members are based.
"We need a good spread of top quality B&Bs, specialising in the 'local' Irish tourism product, representing the best of the home stay and themed holiday experience and working through web based booking systems," added Ms. Burns.
Meanwhile, she rejected claims that B&Bs were trying to compete head-on with the hotel sector.
“To blame the closure of B&Bs over the last 10 years on low cost hotels is just inaccurate. Over 70% of B&B business is international, while 70% of hotel business is domestic. There has been increased competition for bed-space yes, but much of the change in the B&B profile has been a restructuring of the industry, with many closures due to retirement. "
TCH also hit out at Fáilte Ireland’s refusal to introduce classification for the B&B sector. “We have appealed to them for years to put in place mandatory licensing for the B&B sector and work with us on classification, so we can ensure product quality and they just refuse to help us. How can we manage the development of a top quality B&B sector if half the B&B’s are completely unregulated and many are pulling the sector down?”
Return to > News