Government ministers are due to meet hotel officials next week to discuss allegations of under-pricing in the industry, reports RTE.
The Public Accounts Committee has also heard complaints that the industry “price-gouging”.
The Ministry of Tourism said it was important for Ireland to maintain its reputation for value for money in the accommodation sector, but there appeared to be an increase in the scale and frequency of bidding, often coinciding with concerts and sporting events.
“I think this needs regulation. I think what’s going on in Dublin is a national disgrace. It’s embarrassing our country,” Labour TD Alan Kelly told the Public Accounts Committee, reports RTE.
Catherine Liken, secretary general of the Department of Tourism, stressed that the government was “acutely aware of this issue”.
“The ministers are meeting the industry next week. There is a reputational issue for Ireland,” she accepted, particularly “as a value for money destination,” she said, reports RTE.
‘An acute’ shortage of hotel rooms – industry
The chief executive of the Irish Confederation of Tourism Industries says Irish tourism is very good value, acknowledging there is in “an acute” shortage of hotel rooms.
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh told RTE News at One that this is having an impact on prices and when reduced supply is added to increased costs of doing business, “it’s going to push prices up”, reports RTE.
“There is a minority of tourism and hospitality operators who charge excessive prices at key times of the year. They are the minority, and I don’t think they are reflective of the broader industry. There are 20,000 tourism hospitality businesses in the sector. I think the vast majority are very responsible … the vast majority are based in regional Ireland, are SMEs, are family run, labour intensive. That is true Irish tourism,” reports RTE.
The comments come amid new allegations of underpricing in the hotel sector in the run-up to Taylor Swift’s newly announced concert at Aviva Stadium on June 28 and 29 next year.
Anecdotal evidence suggests some hotels have raised prices to coincide with these concerts, and a Waterford woman told RTÉ News that she and her friends hoped to attend.
“The hotels we were looking at were usually €250, €290, €310 per night, but they’ve gone to €999 per night, which is out of my reach,” Jo Cregan said, reports RTE.
Tell us your thoughts in the Facebook post and share this with your friends.