An organisation which supports and promotes tourism in Ireland has said rising car rental prices are undermining Ireland’s reputation as a good value for money destination.
Fáilte Ireland added that those who cannot secure a car booking may decide not to come to Ireland.
It said this represents a major loss for the wider tourism industry, saying 20% of all overseas tourists to Ireland rent a car and that those who do spend more time and money and are far more likely to visit rural Ireland.
A report carried out by Indecon for Fáilte Ireland found that the cost of renting a car for tourists in Ireland is high compared to the European average.
It also found that car hire plays an important role in facilitating tourism in Ireland and is a highly-seasonal sector.
It says the pandemic had a detrimental impact on car rental companies.
A quick glance online shows just how expensive rental cars are.
For a ten-day hire from Dublin Airport at the end of July, a small car – a Citroen C1 – will set people back around €1,545.
For those looking for more space, a VW Golf Estate comes in at over €5,700.
For the same period out of Kerry Airport, a small VW Up costs just over €1,500.
The crux of the problem, the industry says, is lack of supply.
2022 stock levels are said to be 50% of what they were pre-pandemic. There are also many problems sourcing new cars.
Paul Redmond, Chief Executive of from the Car Rental Council of Ireland, said that it has no data on car rental prices and comment on the matter.
In a statement, he said global car production slowed substantially during the pandemic and there is now a huge backlog of new vehicles.
It said under-resourced car rental companies will have to rebuild their capital base and added that will take time.