Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism Timmy Dooley has said hotels that are deliberately spiking the price of their hotel rooms in Dublin on the back of the Web Summit are hurting Ireland and the city’s image with visitors.
Deputy Dooley has seen hotel prices in the city centre ranging from €500 to €1500 for a standard hotel room for a two night stay.
Deputy Dooley said: “Hotels price gouging on the back of the Web Summit are sending out entirely the wrong message about Ireland. Dublin is a major capital city that is serious about attracting investors and visitors – it does not need a rip-off reputation. I am conscious that many hotels will be at full capacity this week with thousands of delegates in Dublin for the Web Summit but price gouging is entirely counter-productive and undermines the product in the longer term.
“The hotel and tourism sectors have benefitted from a massive stimulus in recent years with a taxpayer-funded VAT tax cut to 9%. Thanks to this strategy our tourism sector has grown, but I find some hotels trying to exploit the visitors coming to the country for the Web Summit quite distasteful.
“I raised this issue last year when similar price hikes were being introduced and I urged the Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe to engage with industry representatives on the matter. Our concern at that time was that this sort of activity, if left unchallenged, would put the web summit itself at risk. Unfortunately we have seen how that worked out.
“My concern now is that Ireland and Dublin’s reputation as a convention destination is going to suffer more fundamentally unless something is done to address the practice.
“In order for Ireland to best position itself as a welcoming country we must do everything we can to ensure our tourism industry remains affordable, attractive and competitive,” concluded Deputy Dooley.