Tourists complain of high costs for hotels, car rental

The Department of Tourism has been inundated with complaints from tourists and members of the public about the high cost of holidays in Ireland.

A family wrote that they were going to have to cancel a fifth planned trip to Ireland after receiving a quote for C$2,000 to hire a car.

They had already paid a deposit for accommodation and said they now had to deal with the cost of losing their flights as their holiday would not be viable without a car.

In an email to Tourism Minister Catherine Martin, they wrote: ‘I work in healthcare, worked for over two years during Covid on the frontline in a blood lab, and had really looking forward to getting back to traveling, to our favorite place on earth, Ireland.”

“This financial loss is huge, but the spiritual loss is even greater when people can no longer take the trips they love,” they added.

Another recounted how the cost of renting a car for a four-day trip had more than tripled from a trip he took in 2019.

They explained how their daughter was also traveling and had to pay €770 to hire a car, two and a half times what it would have cost at the same time in London.

“With car rental rates as they are, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if nothing is done at the government level, there will be fewer tourists and the economy will suffer,” they said. they stated.

An Irish hotel has written to Minister Martin saying it is seeing reservations canceled because visitors simply cannot afford car hire charges.

They said they tried to help someone rent a car for a few days, for which they were quoted €1200.

The hotelier said this visitor left early and instead went to Dublin where he could get around without a vehicle.

Another said action should be taken on the car rental industry to see if it was “acting uncompetitively”, pointing out that there were almost 7,400 used cars – registered for 2021 or 2022 – available for sale on advertising websites.

“Bad press has a habit of spreading much more effectively than so-called good news,” they wrote. “The tourism industry here is already a dubious prospect due to high hotel and restaurant costs.”

A German family with a holiday home in County Cork said they would rather travel to their holiday home in France due to car rental costs.

“Rental prices have gone up at least four times. Holidays in Ireland are no longer affordable. Hopefully that will change soon and everything will be back to normal,” they wrote.

Another wrote about returning to Ireland to bury his mother and the exorbitant costs for hiring a vehicle.

They said the average price quoted was €2,000 per day, which in America they said would be considered “price gouging and illegal”.

Their email added: ‘I myself am extremely disappointed in a country I consider myself proud to have grown up in and of which I also have dual nationality.’

A visitor from Sweden said that between hotel prices of €250 a night in Dublin and an extra €250 a day for a car, they couldn’t afford a visit.

“Although I would prefer to spend my holidays in Ireland [and] I love Ireland!” they wrote. “Can this unacceptable situation change?”

Complaints have also been received about ‘overpriced hotels’, with one claiming they could stay in a private suite in Las Vegas for the price of a moderate hotel in Cork.

There were also emails from Irish people saying they intended to holiday abroad instead of staying due to high costs.

The Ministry of Tourism said it received over 100 such representations over the summer months and, as part of the FOI, agreed to release a representative sample of over 20.

A ministry spokesperson said: “It is clear that tourism businesses as well as many other sectors are facing cost inflation and other economic constraints, including rising energy costs and the ‘increasing wages in a competitive recruitment market’.

“These are all factors that will affect consumer prices. It is important that a balance is struck and that the industry maintains the value for money proposition for Irish tourism over the longer term,” said he declared.

“Companies need to be able to make a sustainable profit margin, but need to pay attention to their prices and how they can add value. Companies need to consider both their price levels and the value added so that we can continue to attract customers and keep them coming back again and again,” he added.

Reporting by Ken Foxe

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