Hard-hit Ireland turns to airlines for support

29 November 2001 by
Hard-hit Ireland turns to airlines for support

Irish tourism, facing a predicted loss of 750,000 American visitors next year, is looking to cheaper flights from Britain and Continental Europe to help rescue the embattled industry.

Aer Rianta, the Irish airports' authority, has been told by government to cut airport charges for any airline that can bring in extra visitors.

As additional encouragement, a new terminal is planned for low-cost operators like Go and Ryanair, with Ryanair promising it will fly in an extra one million people from Italy, France and Scandinavia if given a sufficiently generous deal on charges.

The initiatives are welcome news for the Irish hotel industry, struggling with the collapse of US business since 11 September and fearful about next year.

Hotels at the top end of the market are hardest hit, with the loss of American visitors compounded by belt-tightening among Irish corporate clients.

Some, such as the newly opened Westin in Dublin's College Green, have been cutting room rates in an effort to stimulate demand.

Irish visitor numbers this year are set to be down 10%, says tourism minister Jim McDaid, representing a loss to the economy of IR£233m (£184m).

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 29 November - 5 December 2001

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