Some 571 private student flats in Dublin 7 are to be converted into tourist accommodation for the upcoming academic year, the Business Post has reported.
Uninest, the accommodation provider, has said that it did not anticipate its international student market recovering in time for the coming academic year.
The accommodation provider has been granted approval from Dublin City Council to rent 571 flats in Grangegorman to tourists until May 31st 2022. The application to do this was submitted in June of this year.
The principal permitted use of the site as student accommodation will remain during this period, according to the Business Post.
Declan Brassil & Company, acting on behalf of Uninest, said that the application was being made on the grounds of “the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international and domestic demand for student accommodation, the consequential under-utilisation of the application resource, and the opportunity presented to make attractive and affordable accommodation available in the inner-city area”.
Uninest was previously permitted to host tourists in the complex between October 2020 and May 2021.
Uninest said that typically, the international student market accounts for 50 per cent of the uptake of its facilities, and it does not anticipate a major recovery of the market during the coming academic year. It also said it did not foresee full recovery of the domestic student market.
“While domestic students may benefit from a tentative increase in on-campus learning, it is anticipated that this would primarily occur in the latter half of the academic year based on vaccination roll-out to the younger student population base”, the company said.
The application predicted students in Ireland would only be fully vaccinated by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
The Irish Hotels Federation has lobbied against such temporary conversions by student accommodation providers, arguing that usage of the complexes by tourists puts additional pressure on the already pandemic-stricken tourism industry.
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has committed to the return of in-person teaching for the new academic year.
The Safe Return Plan, published this week, sees the IUA, along with the Technological Higher Education Association and RCSI, commit to “maximising and optimising the on-campus experience for all students” from September.