Belfast is bracing itself for a rooms’ boom, with over 1,000 more hotel rooms scheduled to be built in the city before 2018.
This will result in a 30% increase in hotel rooms in just two year’s time, which will help drive more visitors to Belfast. The four- and five-star offering is to increase by 25%.
The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation is predicting an additional 1,074 hotel rooms are due to be built over the next three years.
The Federation which represents over 85% of hotel accommodation in Northern Ireland, predicts a 15% growth in hotels across the region overall.
Belfast’s tourism economy has continued to grow in the last two years, with new and existing hoteliers actively seeking to enter and expand within the Belfast market.
The total number of hotel rooms in the city will increase to 4,885 by 2018, representing an increase of 29%. Belfast City Council is keen to support hotel development and has also expressed a need for an additional 1,800 hotel rooms to fulfil tourism demand.
Belfast has become one of the most visited cities in the UK, and the second most visited on the island of Ireland.
Vanessa Markey, head of Great Britain for tourism Ireland, welcomed the figures, saying, “We are lucky to have some amazing hotels and visitor attractions on our doorstep in Belfast, making it an incredibly vibrant place for tourists to visit.”
“We want Belfast to become a world class, must-visit, city destination and the increase in hotel capacity goes a long way to helping us reach this goal.”
According to the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, a number of hotel brands already in the city are looking to diversify and create new opportunities through alternative brands. These include Hilton with Hampton Suites and Doubletree, Premier Inn with the Hub and IHG with Indigo.
Janice Gault, chief executive, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said: “Belfast’s rising occupancy rate has resulted in the city being added to a number of international hoteliers’ shopping lists. Higher end product and hotels with authentic elements are crucial for Belfast, especially so the city can attract and service conferences at the newly extended Waterfront.
“International brands such as Marriott have Northern Ireland in their sights; the opening of international businesses and the reduction of corporation tax in 2017 will make the region an even more attractive option for investment.”
New hotels already in the pipeline include Titanic Hotel at the former Harland and Wolff drawing offices, City Quays, Grand Central, Bedford Street and Blackstaff Square Hotel.