Howard hastings, the managing director of the Hastings Hotel Group.

“Would you like to go to a wedding where there were four people seated at a normal six-foot round table?”

With hotels on both sides of the border, Howard Hastings has a unique view on the policy response of both governments. As he prepares to reopen, he believes that domestic tourism will not be enough, and that government intervention is required.

29th Jun, 2020 - 12 min read

When I spoke to hotelier Howard Hastings, we did not talk over coffee in the magical surroundings of his Ballygally Castle Hotel on the coast of Antrim or in the restored, Georgian townhouse The Merrion in Dublin, of which he is a major shareholder.

The Covid-19 lockdown would not allow either of these options, so we spoke on the phone. However, the hotel industry across the island of Ireland was preparing to reopen this summer.

Hotels in Northern Ireland will open on July 3, after it was decided to further ease of restrictions. It was originally decided that hotels in Northern Ireland would reopen on July 20.

“We obviously...

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