Ukrainians ‘exacerbate’ hotel price crisis
Ukrainian refugees in Ireland have “exacerbated” the shortage of affordable hotel rooms in Ireland this summer, the chief executive of the Confederation of the Irish Tourism Industry has claimed.
So far 43,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since the Russian invasion and the government is working to find suitable accommodation for all of them.
Some are now temporarily housed in tents at Gormanston Army Camp in County Meath, but several thousand are housed in hotels across the country – rooms that would normally be used by tourists on their summer holidays.
“There is already a shortage of accommodation in the tourism industry,” said Eoghan O’Meara Walsh of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation. noon live.
“But that has been exacerbated by the refugee situation and…we naturally have to take in refugees from Ukraine on a humanitarian basis and I think hotels are a short-term solution, but they can in no way be seen as a medium to long term. fix it because the unintended consequences for the tourism industry are really, really serious.
“And the thing to keep in mind is that the tourism industry is the biggest indigenous industry in the country and the biggest regional employer.”
One town with a particularly large number of Ukrainians staying in local hotels is Youghal in County Cork and Pádraig Hennessy of the local Chamber of Commerce says their presence has significantly reduced the number of tourists to the area:
“We are a small tourist town, we depend on tourism, we have no industry,” he said.
“And it looks like the accommodation we offer in Youghal has been taken over by the government with no plans to see the damage it will do to the tourism industry in Youghal.”
“We only have on average about 58 [bed] nights remaining in Youghal – which for a beach town at this time of year is just ridiculous.
“Over the last two years of the pandemic we have had a lot of staycationers who have come through Youghal to show them what we have to offer and we have a huge offer at Youghal.
“And for me, they wiped it out… I can’t understand what the government was thinking about putting all the hotel rooms out of service.”
Another local resident, Kay, called to say that while she had a “fierce sympathy” for Ukrainians, their presence was “definitely affecting the prosperity of the city and certainly impacting retail in the city.”
“We have a tourist office and I just spoke to someone there and she said it was so quiet. I noticed the afternoons die here, you know.
“I know the whole situation with Ukraine but we feel really let down by the government and I’m disappointed.
“This deal was done so secretly and there was no consultation with the city.”
“We are not going to set a limit”
Last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar faced calls to limit the number of Ukrainians coming to Ireland and said they would be treated as if they were EU citizens:
“Even though Ukraine is not a member of the European Union, we will treat Ukrainian citizens almost as if they do,” he said. The Pat Kenny Show.
“We can’t predict at this stage how many Ukrainians might come here – I’ve seen some suggested numbers, but it’s just impossible to know how many there will be.
“It could be a few thousand, it could be 20,000 as Minister Coveney suggested yesterday.
“But we’re not going to put a limit on him.
“This is a war taking place in Europe, we are Europeans and we must show solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
“And also those other countries in Central and Eastern Europe who bear the brunt of this refugee crisis, which was deliberately created by President Putin with the aim of destabilizing the European Union – and we must ensure that it does not ‘get not far from there’.
Main image: Ukrainians walk from Ukraine to Isaccea in Romania after crossing the border on March 5, 2022. Photo by: Liviu Pazargic / Alamy Stock Photo