Cities worst hit by tourism collapse
A new report by EY titled ‘What now for city tourism?’ has found that city tourism has been more severely impacted than any other form of tourism across the island of Ireland. Benchmark analysis based on STR data for 10 different European countries has found that hotel occupancy rates in Dublin were 56% lower than regional hotel occupancy rates during the last week of July and second week of September 2020. This trend is also witnessed in Europe, as occupancy rates in main capital cities are on average 41% lower than their regional counterparts.
Irish regional hotels have performed relatively well during the summer period analysed with a 54% occupancy rate, outperforming their European counterparts. Dublin hotels have underperformed with a 24% occupancy rate compared with 38% in a city like Berlin for example.
The city tourism model relies mainly on two drivers: oversea tourists and business tourists. It has been most severely impacted by the restricted activity in airports and the closing of borders, which affected up to 96% of all worldwide destinations at the beginning of April 2020, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Although short-term emigration and longer holidays have been reduced by quarantine measures, city tourism has been more significantly impacted given its traditionally shorter trip duration.
City tourism also relies heavily on business tourists travelling for meetings, conferences, and events, the majority of which were cancelled due to public health restrictions. This market, which is responsible for more than 1 in every 6 hotel nights in Ireland, continues to be challenged.
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