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Now, speaking of that Clifton debacle, hotels are at a loss as to what the regulations are in the wake of the stationhouse hotel debacle. So Owen Currie is on the line and he's going to talk to us about that and other travel matters.


Owen, good morning and good morning.


Past editor of Air and Travel magazine. But an interest in all things to do with tourism and talk to us about the regulations.


I mean, does a hotel like the station as hotel have a valid excuse of saying we don't have clarity so we muddle through the best we can or where they in breach of a very clear regulation?


The regulations are as if they're they're being delivered at press conferences pass. So everybody is scrambling to make out what does it actually mean? The regulations are clear enough. The 50 is pretty much set in stone. So when these guys went to one, they were very clearly breaching the regulation, trying to put a partition in. Most hoteliers I've spoken to say, no, that doesn't count. But if you have two golf societies, for instance, you had the Gall Golf Society in the clubhouse and you had the Senate's Golf Society in the stationhouse, I don't think we'd be looking at this sort of the scale of the reaction we might be looking at.


Any reaction at all this morning? What everybody is doing is going back to the Irish Hotels Federation. They've been very, very good. They're very black and white. And but what they are doing is reacting to, as I say, not legislation with clauses and subclauses. And this is what you do in a certain scenario, but really trying to interpret what's coming from medical people in at press conferences when in fact, the Department of Tourism Falchi Ireland guidelines and everything follows, but not in the sort of timeline you need to cope with events like this.


So you get a government press conference. They say this is what we're doing and they haven't talked to the Hotels Federation or anyone else to kind of clarify what they're doing and to hear counterarguments, because there's no one better equipped to kind of point out the folly or the wisdom of regulations. And those practitioners themselves, they can say something's workable, something's not workable, whereas in the Department of Health, they might not have that kind of expertise.


That's the pattern and the psychology of all of us that we're dealing with such a scale of a crisis, it's not going to happen. But even as things have developed, we haven't had consultation. A lot of the stuff that I would have talked about would travel. There has been zero consultation. In fact, the Task Force Recovery Task Force set up for the aviation industry, interim and final reports both ignored even within the governments. You can you're hearing the departments, you know, off the record saying that they're not being consulted.


So the Department of Foreign Affairs, that they're part of the tourism and transport line and something is not really getting through to the Department of Health. And, of course, we're all hearing what's happening at the cabinet table now. That's all of sort of academic interest to people who are want to follow politics. But where it impacts is on a hotel is what do you do, for instance, with a wedding who arrives and say we want to drink to one o'clock in the morning?


The answer to that, by the way, is there are different rules for residents of a hotel than there are for people who come in to a hotel. An example of that, if you're a resident in a hotel and lots of people are staycation in hotels, you get your hundreds and five minutes for your meal. If you're a resident, you get something extra, you get an hour pre dinner, drink in an hour, postin or drink. But, um, but you can't, you know, continue on in the residence bar, as we used to in the pre COVA days.


That's a little bit of a surprise to some of the people booking. Now, some of the hotels have noticed to avoid people bringing their own drink back up to the room. They've had to sort of almost a take away service that offered those sort of things don't apply if you have brought a friend in from the local town and all the rules that apply to a resident resident do not apply when it comes to an event very, very practical about this.


I'm out to dinner in the hotel and I'm at the seven thirty sitting.


I'm finished by nine. I go into the bar and I'm entitled to an hour extra drinking.


If you're arrested, someone else is on the half eight and they gobble up their dinner. They're finished by a quarter to ten and they join the they go into the residence bar and we're expecting the bar man or woman to have a stopwatch on each each resident. Come on. Realism tends to release it.


And I mean, it's the obvious thing that the world, once alcohol gets involved, all the social distancing and all the other time things get frayed. But it's actually back to the hotel to police it. Now, this is really important for Clifton is that it's the organiser of the event who really is the one who is supposed to make out work out in advance what the rules are and communicate that to the people he invites. So everything goes back to the organizer of the event, Dony Kassidy, and what he told people who were coming there, because it's quite clear.


I mean, there's been a lot of call for resignations and a lot of it's a very small number of DOL members, but large number of senators. And in the nature of Senate elections and it was election year, senators will be bringing councillors as guests to an event like this. But it's quite clear a lot of the people who were there thought they were not in breach of regulations, but ended up in breach of regulations. And that comes back to the organiser when they say they contacted the IHF.


The I have told them pretty much the regulations are changing and they changed overnight the night before. And but very importantly, the number fifty didn't change overnight. So that's not a get out of the organisers. But there would be lots of ways around that. Hotels are using their spaces, money to have several dining rooms. Another really important thing, and this applies to restaurants, hotels, six other tables, some of those tables would have had ten of them, six at a table and their family groups, family groups.


You cannot have six singletons. Even if there's only six at the table, it cannot be six singletons. The regulations as they stand, as I say, they are coming from press conferences. But there's been it has to be said to and in fact, the hotel industry, there have been no incidents. They have been running. They have opened their hotels and they've been running this confused. And all over the place is the regulations are they have been to erring on the side of caution all the way through this.


Now, let's move on. Aviation, obviously, numbers through the various airports are much reduced. The real question for airlines is, though, their forward planning because they decide on the. Schedules and how they will deploy their aircraft and where they position their aircraft, what's happening for Ireland's connectivity because of covid-19, we're doing really, really well with connectivity.


We have about 100 flights out of Dublin today. We have had AC in July and we'd have been down to 12 at the bottom of the cycle. The load factors, that varies, they're around. They can be very, very small. Some listeners would probably text in about cases of three or four people on an aircraft, but they've been around 25 to 40 percent. Big question comes end of October, what happens? Winter and the decisions are being made now on that.


It's very interesting to see that the number of flights, particularly by Ryanair and Ryanair, have 14 flights a day in the sky across Europe. They're by far the airline that's returned first to the airline. easyJet would be second by about 800, but their winter capacity out of Ireland is going to shrivel to a dribble. And it's very, very unusual to look at the sort of prices you can get to Barcelona. Twenty five euro return or twenty euro return in September, going up in November and December.


That's a very unusual cycle. So that indicates that we're going to have our connectivity slashed back through the winter, largely because the government policy, the greenest, which didn't really work from the start. But what is more important for Ireland's inbound tourism is what's happening in twenty, twenty one. We've seen two of the American Airlines pull their Shaalan services for twenty twenty one. American Airlines, to their credit, have scheduled it in which a new aircraft. But the real game is going to be what happens from St.


Patrick's Day on, particularly as increasingly looks at the case where we're still in that cycle of clamping down on the virus. And then when the clamp is released, it's beginning to rise again. That's the pattern spackled pattern all over Europe. That's what's been happening. If we're back into that for next summer, we really need a plan B as far as a travel policy, because we haven't come up even with a plan yet for Ireland on Curry, editor of ER and Travel magazine.


Thank you very much.


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