Bank loan

Lough Erne Resort returns to action with crucial bank loan

The luxury venue, Lough Erne Resort, has said its wedding reservations are almost full for next year as it readjusts to business after the lockdown.

The five-star site said its booking levels were “exceptionally strong” and that it was facing a record summer this year.

It has secured government-backed funding through the Bank of Ireland and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs) to help fund it during closings and to help reopen.

Northern Ireland companies have borrowed more than £ 2 billion under the CBILs and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BLS), the two largest Covid-19 loan programs backed by the UK government.

The plans were closed to new requests at the end of March.

CBILS and BBLS gave the lender a full government guarantee against the outstanding balance. The borrower always remains fully responsible for the debt.

Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh is operated by US management company TRU Hotels & Resorts.

TRU co-founder Mark Ward said the support from the Bank of Ireland had been crucial and the business was strong.

“Right now we enjoy exceptionally high booking levels. In fact, we could be set for a record summer ’21.

“Our wedding team was inundated with inquiries and worked closely with couples to find suitable dates for weddings that had to be postponed due to the foreclosure.

“At this point, we only have a number of dates left in the middle of the week until spring 2022.

“The membership of the resort’s two golf clubs has also grown as more people turn to golf as a way to enjoy the outdoors while staying fit and healthy.”

Lough Erne Resort said the Bank of Ireland loan helped fund the cost of closing the resort, including retaining staff and maintaining its golf courses and spa.

He also contributed to the preparations for the reopening of the site.

Paul McClurg, Head of Corporate Banking Services in Belfast for Bank of Ireland UK, said: “Businesses, especially in the leisure and tourism sector, are still feeling the impact of Covid-19.

“We are delighted that Bank of Ireland UK has played its role in supporting Lough Erne Resort, one of Northern Ireland’s most famous and preeminent destinations which attracts clients both locally and globally and which is very important for the local economy at large. “

Mr Ward said the CBIL loan has made it possible to focus on renovating rooms and public spaces, as well as other improvements to the complex.

Jeff Mahan added: “Each year we contribute over £ 6million to the local economy in the form of salaries and support from local suppliers and this is something our entire team is really proud of.

The resort has invested in new attractions such as outdoor activities offered by a company in the region. Activities include a Sunset Water Bike Safari, Lough Erne Biodiversity Bike Tour and the Starlight Water Bike Trail.

Across the UK, more than 1.6 million small businesses have borrowed around £ 70 billion from emergency lending programs.

It has left companies with billions of pounds in loans they are expected to repay over the next decade, spreading the shock of Covid-19 over the period.

Last year, the National Audit Office revealed estimates that between 35% and 60% of borrowers could default on their loans.