Fewer UK visits to Dublin post-Brexit vote

Ireland’s largest hotel group achieved an 80% leap in pre-tax profits to €32.7 million in the first half of the year despite a drop in UK tourists to Dublin following the Brexit vote.

Dalata Hotel Group also announced plans to develop a 300-room hotel in Manchester under the Clayton brand to open by summer 2020.

The company has a pipeline of more than 1,280 rooms set to open in 2018.

Group chief executive, Pat McCann, said: “We are monitoring the reduction in UK visitors to Ireland since the Brexit vote in 2016.

“To date, overall visitor numbers remain robust due to growth in other markets.

“Our strategy of retaining substantial volumes of corporate and tour group business in our hotels makes us less reliant on the UK transient visitor.”

More than €17 million was spent in the six months to June 30 on new builds and extensions, the companybreported today.

Construction is described as being well underway at Clayton Hotel Charlemont and Maldron Hotel Kevin Street in Dublin, Maldron Hotel Belfast City and Maldron Hotel Newcastle.

Building starts in May on a 141-room extension to the Clayton Hotel Dublin airport.

Dalata completed the purchase of Hotel La Tour in Birmingham for €34.9 million in July. A sale and leaseback of the property was completed in August.

Disposal of the leasehold interest in the “non-core” Croydon Park Hotel was finalised in June.

The company also finalised the sale and leaseback of Clayton Hotel Cardiff and purchased the freehold interest in Maldron Hotel Portlaoise in Northern Ireland in May for €6.8 million.

Dalata said: “The performance of our hotels across all three regions has been strong in July and August and the outlook remains positive for the balance of the year. Dublin remains a key market for the group.”

But it added: “The weakening of sterling since the Brexit vote has negatively impacted on the number of UK visitors to the city but this has been more than compensated by an increase in the number of visitors from North America, Europe and other markets.

“Demand for rooms remains high in the city. The regional Ireland cities are not as exposed to UK visitor numbers and continue to perform strongly.

“The UK hotel markets within which we operate also continue to perform strongly and appear to be benefiting from the weaker pound.”