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Room revenue at Ireland's Dalata surpasses 2019 levels

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's largest hotel operator, Dalata Hotel Group, said hotel room revenue (RevPAR) surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time as it expressed optimism on Thursday for summer trading.

Dalata reported at the start of March that RevPAR - a key measure of a hotel's top-line performance - was approaching pre-pandemic levels and said on Thursday that for March and April it is expected to be 109% of the corresponding 2019 period.

A number of Dalata's hotel rooms in Ireland are currently being utilised for other purposes, including to accommodate Ukrainian refugees, the hotel group added in a trading update.

Dalata, which also runs hotels under its Maldron and Clayton brands in the UK and is set to increase its number of rooms by at least 20% through planned expansion, said it also remained cautious about the impact of inflation on demand.

Ireland's tourism sector was battered over the past two years by the COVID-19 hit to global travel and some of the strictest travel curbs in the European Union.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation said this week that it expects inbound tourism to reach 67% of 2019 levels this year, up from its forecast of 60% earlier this year. Travel to and from Ireland hit 65% of pre-pandemic levels in February.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Kim Coghill)