An Irish-American tourist has spoken of his shock when he was offered a €10,000 fee to hire a car in Ireland for three weeks this summer.
isin Hayes, from Philadelphia, said he went online to book a rental car for three weeks from mid-July through August and was told the only car available that would suit his family of four people was a luxury car that would cost him €10,000.
“Honestly, you could ship my own car round trip (for the same price),” he told Claire Byrne on RTE One’s Claire Byrne Live last night.
Fortunately Mr Hayes, who has family in Ireland, said he had other options with friends and family here who could help.
But the astronomical cost not only of renting a car – due to a shortage of supply – but also of accommodation here this summer has been laid bare on the agenda.
RTÉ looked at online quotes to hire a family car for a week here this summer and found the charges quoted were out of scale.
Renting a small or compact car would cost €1,059, while a station wagon would cost €2,377 and a large station wagon would cost €5,688.
“It’s a price hike,” said Fianna Fail Senator Timmy Dooley.
The program also learned how a two-night hotel stay in Dublin now costs €700 compared to €450 for two nights in Paris.
And a scroll on Booking.com revealed the only accommodation available in the capital this weekend was a two-bed hostel room priced at €818.
“It’s crazy,” said the former Co Clare TD.
He said the astronomical cost of car hire and accommodation here this summer was “damaging Ireland’s image abroad”.
He said the government “needs to engage with the sector” to bring prices down to affordable levels.
“The government has a lot of influence,” he said.
“It’s not just hurting their business, but also Ireland’s reputation.”
Meanwhile, travel broadcaster Fergal O’Keefe said pent-up demand for international travel in the wake of the pandemic has led to steep price increases.
He advised people looking to travel abroad this summer to “look for places off the beaten track” and haggle with short-term rental operators like AirBnB to see if they can get a better deal.
He also suggested booking accommodation directly with a hotel instead of using booking websites to see if there are any discounts.