Hotels in the North England have seen a sharp increase in business travel, as properties in the region reported huge room night growth in 2017.
According to new research from Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agent consortium, five northern cities are among the top 10 fastest growing destinations for business travel.
Blackpool saw the biggest growth in UK overnight business travel with 55% more room nights in 2017 compared to 2016.
Significant growth also came from other cities in the northern region of the country, with the likes of Preston (35%), Bradford (33%), Sheffield (24%) and Doncaster (21%) all appearing among the top 10.
This was measured against an average of 9.5%, with London seeing a 10% rise.
Neil Armorgie, Advantage’s global product director, said the data highlights how companies are looking to spread their bases outside of London and focusing on the domestic market ahead of Brexit.
“My gut feeling is that the uncertainty over Brexit that we’ve been seeing is making companies think about the best place to grow and expand their business,” he said.
Chart-topper Blackpool said that the rise was thanks to a £500m investment into the resort’s tourism infrastructure, with that money now translating into increased corporate occupancy.
New accommodation, including four- and five-star hotels, plus a new £25m conference and exhibition centre, part of the Winter Gardens complex, are set to launch in 2019 and are expected to bring a further boost to tourism and the reputation of Blackpool.
Head of Blackpool’s business tourism team, Mandy Tythe-McCallum, said of the figures: “We anticipate that with more new accommodation coming forward, including both four and five-star rated hotels, plus our new Conference and Exhibition Centre which will be part of the iconic Winter Gardens complex, that Blackpool will continue to boom as a destination for business travellers. In addition we are seeing a massive upgrade to our transport system which will make getting to, and getting around, Blackpool far easier for conference delegates.”