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Pandemic’s damage to hotels costs NI economy £450m | Article

Covid-19 has cost the Northern Irish economy £450m purely from its impact on hotels, according to the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF).

The body claimed in a hotel trading report that occupancy fell to just 31% in 2020 as the sector’s contribution to the economy dipped below £200m.

It represents a sharp decline when compared to the 71% occupancy rates and £650m economic contribution that the sector operated over in 2019.

The industry body revealed that repeated lockdown cycles have “wreaked havoc” on the hotel sector, “wasting money and resources along the way”.

Over £2m per week is reportedly being shed on fixed costs by the industry that the NIHF claims will not see any level of growth until 2024.

The report added: “Many do not understand that closed hotels continue to incur costs at a considerable level; heat; light and staffing. The majority require personnel in situ twenty-four hours per day over the course of lockdown.

“A simple metric highlighting the stark reality of the situation, is that fixed costs for a hotel property equate to an outlay of £1,000 per bedroom per month.”

In response to its findings, the body called on the Northern Irish Government to extend the business rates relief and VAT reduction, while also implementing “appropriate grants” for larger hotels.

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