As tourism figures would indicate it's been a good year for the hotel industry - with almost three quarters of firms reporting some pick up in business, according to the Irish Hotels Federation.

However its latest barometer also shows a sharp dip in sentiment within the industry - as hoteliers worry about the impact of Brexit.

"The majority of our members are reporting a good year but there's been a fall in the UK and Northern Ireland visitors," IHF president Michael Lennon. "Nine out of ten hotels are concerned about Brexit."

The fall in British visitor numbers has been, to date, made up for by strong growth in visits from other markets. However Britain still accounts for about half of all trips to Ireland, meaning it is a big segment to replace should there be any dramatic decline post-Brexit.

And hoteliers are already seeing Brexit taking its toll - even before the exit has actually happened - as consumers seem reluctant to make their bookings for 2019 until they know what the nature of the EU-UK relationship will be after March 2019.

"The first quarter, and even the first six months, I would feel that business is not as healthy as it was this time last year," Mr Lennon said. "Sentiment coming from our members suggests that it's not looking as good from the UK market - though there's growth definitely coming with more flights from the US and Europe."

The IHF has called for the Government to take action to aid the tourism sector in the coming year - and its specifically seeking measures that would see the cost of doing business eased.

This includes the likes of local authority rates, but also the cost of insurance which has been an ongoing problem for many firms across the country.

However Mr Lennon does credit the State - through bodies like Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland - for the work it has done in supporting the sector over the years.

"[They're] doing a lot of hard work out there at the coal face, whether it be training or working in international markets," he said. "But I'd call on Government to look at the tourism satellite account and really look at how successful rural and regional businesses are doing - and that we know county-by-county the numbers, and the number of people and what is being spent in rural Ireland.

"Over 70% of the tourism business is made in rural Ireland and it's important that we really try and help businesses in these areas and push marketing efforts and actions."