78% of hotels have seen a fall-off in business from the UK compared to last year while 60% saw a decrease in business from Northern Ireland, a new survey shows today.
The latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation also reveals that 64% of hoteliers said the weakness in the value of sterling has had a negative impact on business levels.
Hoteliers surveyed also said that risks associated with Brexit have resulted in 73% of them re-examining investment plans and taking a more cautious approach for next year.
Overall, hotels and guesthouses around the country reported mixed results for the key summer season amid increasing concerns about the challenges facing the tourism sector.
57% of hotels experienced a fall in overall business levels compared to this time last year while 33% reported an increase, the IHF said.
While tourism business from North America and the domestic market were stronger, results for these markets were also mixed.
The IHF said that 36% of hoteliers reported an increase in business from North America while 45% saw an increase in business from those holidaying at home.
IHF President Michael Lennon said that Irish tourism has been one of the great success stories of the economy in recent years, supporting 270,000 jobs and promoting balanced regional growth across the country.
"However, we are now at a cross-roads and facing a number of pressing challenges including serious risks associated with Brexit, increasingly high costs of doing business in Ireland and ongoing difficulties in attracting visitors to the regions and extending the short tourism season," Mr Lennon said.
He said that to help address these challenges, the IHF has called for additional supports from Government to assist tourism businesses, including a restoration of the 9% VAT rate.
He said that Brexit is particularly challenging in light of the heavy reliance on visitors from the UK, which is even more pronounced for regional tourism businesses.
"A no-deal outcome would cause enormous difficulties for the hotel sector, creating the prospect of a drop of over 10% in tourism revenues from UK visitors and a decline in Irish consumer sentiment, which would have a knock-on effect on domestic tourism activity," he cautioned.