Tracy Coyne is Managing Director of the International Hotel in Killarney, which has 100 bedrooms and 110 staff.

The International was first established as a hotel in 1906 and acquired by Tracy's family in 1976. It has been run by her family since then.

Many of the staff have been working at the hotel for more than 30 years, some of them starting out on reception and working their way to senior management positions, which is badge of distinction for the International and for the Coyne family.

It's not uncommon in the tourism industry in Killarney for people to remain working at the same hotel, restaurant or bar through their whole career.

One of the challenges for Tracy Coyne through the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living pressures was to retain her staff.

She is currently on the lookout for a chef or two, to add to the dozen or so it takes to keep the hotel's kitchens running smoothly. Apart from this, the team is more or less intact.

The International Hotel was acquired by Tracy Coyne's family in 1976

In Killarney though, there is always pressure. The environment itself is a competitive one.

This week, hoteliers and guesthouse owners from throughout the country are meeting for the annual conference of the Irish Hotel Federation.

The federation's chief executive, Tim Fenn, says it is too early to say how the tourist season ahead is likely to develop, with uncertainty around the UK market and whether accommodating refugees and asylum seekers is likely to impact on the availability of hotel rooms.

And then there are those seemingly ever-increasing costs.

As a hotelier, Tracy Coyne is all to familiar with the impact increases in the cost of gas and electricity, food and labour costs are having on her business.

"The cost escalation is right across the board," she said, giving the price of coffee as an example.

"A relatively small input has increased by 32% in the last year."

Adverse weather events, increases in international shipping costs, increases in energy costs due to Russia's war in Ukraine have all conspired to push up the cost of a cup of coffee by around one third over the past year.

"And yet, there is a limit to what people are prepared to pay for a cup of coffee," Tracy said.

St Patrick's Day is regarded as the start of the tourist season in Killarney

There was an element of bad luck for many businesses when it came to the spiraling cost of electricity and gas, driven by the Russian invasion.

The International Hotel had its electricity costs fixed until November, 2021.

War in Ukraine was not really a prospect for most at that stage. Nevertheless, there were no attractive offers to fix costs again at that stage, so - like many businesses - the International adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Within six months, the cost of electricity had risen by 300%.

The Government introduced the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme but because the market had already seen increases during the reference period in 2021, when it came to calculating base rates, the scheme was of little or no benefit to the International and many other businesses.

The Government addressed this issue in the recent cost of income measures.

Tourism is a 12-month business in Killarney.

The International Hotel opens all year round, depending on strong domestic demand over the winter months.

The start of the year is always tough and it was mid-February before revenue overtook payroll and costs.

Success in Killarney is measured over a much longer time period, though.

"We have always rolled with the good years and the softer years," Tracy Coyne said.