Tourists are canceling trips to Ireland because of sky-high car rental prices as inflation soars.
he cost of car rental has skyrocketed since the pandemic hit, with prices tripling and, in some cases, quintupling since 2020.
Some people are now being quoted almost €20,000 to hire a car from Dublin Airport for a week.
Desperate tour operators are even buying vehicles and reselling them after their group has left the country instead of renting them out to avoid the insane prices.
Michael Vaughan, who runs the Vaughan Lodge Hotel in Lahinch, County Clare, said he saw tourists cancel their holidays in Ireland after seeing the price of car hire.
“I had people who had reservations – last minute reservations from America for three, four nights and [they] canceled because they just couldn’t afford to rent a car here and this has happened to me twice in the past few weeks.
He said tourists and tour operators come up with inventive ways to circumvent the price of car rentals.
He explained that a group of Canadian tourists stayed at his hotel and received a quote for €7,000 to hire a van for a week. So they decided to hire a full bus and driver for less.
“It would be cheaper to buy a used car at that price. In the end, they hired a bus and a driver, which was an amazing experience, and it was much cheaper than hiring a car,” Mr Vaughan told Pat Kenny on Newstalk.
And he spoke of one of his Cork-based tour operators, who was forced to buy a used van because it was cheaper than the quote he had received for renting a car for his group.
The tour operator bought the minivan for €7,000 instead of paying €500 a day for a rental car.
When his guests finished their visit, he simply sold the vehicle.
Mr Vaughan said car hire is a ‘national tourism asset that must be protected’ and called on the government to help preserve the country’s tourism industry.
He said: “This comes at a time when the golf industry is coming back for individual golfers. I don’t know why the government hasn’t put in place a post Covid tourism recovery plan.
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