Lough Erne Resort on track for busiest January ever despite closure, manager says

The general manager of Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh said the hotel is set to experience its busiest January on record, despite closing its doors until January 5 earlier this week.

Speaking to MyFermanagh, Joanne Walsh said there was a need to make the decision to close the doors, but it was frustrating that this was happening during a boom in demand.

The resort announced this week that its accommodation and restaurants will close for unmarried people due to the increase in Covid cases in County Fermanagh.

However, Joanne said people were still keen on going out and the hotel was near capacity in terms of bookings for this Sunday despite not having a wedding.

“The most frustrating thing about all of this is that the level of activity is really high, we have a huge number of bookings,” said Joanne.

“Actually, we had to have 212 guests on Sunday night alone, and that’s without a wedding.

“That’s where we had to make the decision, it just doesn’t seem like a sensible idea with the cases as they are right now.

“The activity levels for January are incredibly strong, we are looking into our biggest month of January, so the demand is still there.

“People are catching up a lot from this year on and they’re still crazy to go out.

“Even telling people about the cancellations this week, people are saying they won’t come until next week, or we’ll come on another day.

“I never really experienced such demand for the first trimester like we did, so the sickening thing about it all was that the activity levels were good.”

Staff facing self-isolation led to the decision to shut down the site, but Joanne added new public health guidelines on testing that could help improve the situation.

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“It really wasn’t an easy decision. The impact this has had on our staff means we can’t really provide the right level of service to our customers.

“The staff who had to self-isolate for us forced this decision, the isolation period for close contact and because the cases have escalated so much in Fermanagh.

“We’ve had a very strong seven months, which we never thought we would have when we were shut down for five months.

“The mix between going abroad and having to get tested or not tested still turns off people and will continue until at least 2022, so they will continue to watch the home stay market.”

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