The restoration of the 13.5% VAT rate in the hospitality industry will not impact hotel group Dalata, according to its chief executive.

Pat McCann said he separates the group from the wider hotel industry because of its size and capacity, but he has sympathy for smaller hoteliers particularly in provincial Ireland.

"For us, we'll be absolutely fine, and we've said that from the outset, but for the tourism industry as a whole, this could be quite a challenging year," he said. "For Dalata, we are in very good shape and we will continue to perform well as we go through 2019."

Mr McCann said the group is not spending "any real money" on preparing for Brexit. He said there was a decline in business after the Brexit referendum but it had stabilised in 2018. 

"So essentially we have seen little or no effects of what Brexit might or might not bring. There's a lot of talk of planning for Brexit. Quite frankly we are not spending any real money on this," he said.

"What we've done is we have repositioned ourselves in terms of finance so we have weighed a new debt level that will take us out to 2025, so we are in good shape on our balance sheet. That's the important part at this point."

Dalata reported a €87.3m pre-tax profit for 2018, which was up 13% year on year.

That came on the back of a 11.8% rise in revenue, as the owner of the Clayton and Maldron brands continued to expand its footprint and increase its average room rate

Dalata divides its business into three regions: Dublin, provincial Ireland, and the UK, and Mr McCann said all three regions performed "exceptionally well".

"On top of that, we managed to open six hotels, four major extensions, adding about 1,500 rooms to the group, at a total cost of €300m - all on time and on budget," Mr McCann said.

The group also announced during the year, the addition of another eight hotels with another 2,000 rooms. Some are already under construction, and some are still in the planning stage.

The group expects construction to commence in 2019, and finish in 2020 and 2021.