Hotels and guesthouses across the country are facing up to €270m in lost revenues over the Christmas period due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Commenting on reports that people will not be allowed to travel outside their county for much of December, the Irish Hotels Federation said that will have a devastating impact on hotels throughout the country and will severely limit their ability to trade. 

"Only a very small proportion of hotel accommodation in December is from within the same county," the Irish Hotels Federation's chief executive Tim Fenn said.

Mr Fenn said it is clear that December and Christmas will be very different this year, but added that the Government must take a more balanced approach to allowing people travel outside their county to visit family. 

"Hotels can be an important part of the solution in facilitating this by providing very safe, highly-controlled, spacious environments for people stay independent of the home setting. We have a proven safety record and urge the Government to recognise the role we can play in ensuring a safer Christmas," he stated.

Mr Fenn said the industry understands the significant challenges facing Government in reopening society in a safe way. 

He said there is "scant difference" between level three and level five restrictions in terms of how hotels can operate.

"What is being overlooked is that hotels are proven to be safe places. Hotels have rigourously implemented all the Government guidelines yet despite this Government is insisting on restrictions with disastrous implications for revenue and related employment within our sector," he stated. 

"These five weeks of trading will be absolutely vital to hotels in terms of sustaining them during the first few months of next year, when business levels will be dramatically lower," Mr Fenn concluded.