Irish hotels are carrying a total debt of €6.7bn, with as much as €2.5bn of that needing to be restructured to lower the burden to sustainable levels in the long term.
The finding comes in a report for the Irish Hotels Federation put together by NUI Galway economist Alan Ahearne.
One of the obstacles to resolving the debt problem, the report says, is that it is difficult to attract investment for smaller hotels outside the main urban areas.
Among the solutions Mr Ahearne proposes is the use of qualifying investor funds, which would select a group of hotels to invest in.
This would allow investors from Ireland and abroad to pool money.
He suggested that tax relief subject to tightly defined caps and strictly defined types of investment would provide an incentive for such a scheme.