Tuesday, May 19, 2020

CARLOW tourist businesses face an uncertain time ahead of a planned reopening of the sector in July.

Hotels and tourist activities are set to open on a limited occupancy basis on Monday 20 July, but local businesses are dealing with myriad issues as that date ticks ever closer.

For hotels alone, issues to be resolved range from cleaning rooms to how a breakfast buffet would work with social distancing.

“It’s a very difficult time for businesses, a lot of uncertainty,” said Eileen O’Rourke, CEO of Carlow Tourism.

Ms O’Rourke said one positive thing was that Carlow is not as reliant on international tourism as other parts of Ireland.

Anecdotally, roughly 70% of tourism business in Carlow is domestic, with just 30% coming from international visitors.

“We are not exposed as other areas … we have a strong domestic market as it is,” said Ms O’Rourke. “Hotels and B&Bs are scheduled to reopen on 20 July, but it’s going to be on a very phased basis. There will be a lot of regulations around. But at least it’s there as a timetable for everyone to aim for.”

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