The Ormonde Hotel's Hoban Bar
Kilkenny’s hotel industry is poised to bounce back as a staycation centre when hotels reopen under the government roadmap in July.
Recognised as the Medieval Capital, Kilkenny’s popularity with Irish holidaymakers will be a key to the recovery of the industry as the county emerges from lockdown.
Already there are positive signs, with the average length of overnight stay bookings increasing, weddings being booked and leisure centre memberships being bought since the announcement of the reopening roadmap.
Colin Ahern, general manager of the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and chairman of Visit Kilkenny, said the industry will need to be creative and very careful to make a success of reopening and encourage public confidence. One aspect is making use of technology like ozone deionizers to kill any germs in bedrooms, as well as Covid-19 certified disinfectants.
About 70% of all Kilkenny’s hotel visitors are from Ireland. Other markets around the world are seeing domestic leisure driving their economic, according to Mr Ahern.
Some 6,200 people were employed in the sector at the start of March, and it is hoped to get back there again.
Hotels are well placed to welcome customers, said Mr Ahern, because they can offer a range of experiences under the one roof - restaurant, bar, and leisure centres. This is something hotels have never done before, so customers are asked to be patient.
“Hotels and businesses like us are going to put their best foot forward and are going to ensure staff and customers are safe at all times,” he said.