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Belfast set for 30 per cent increase in hotel rooms

City set to increase capacity with 1,074 extra rooms by 2018, with four and five-star offering up by 25 per cent

Pictured: The former Harland and Wolff drawing offices, set to become the Titanic Hotel

More than 1,000 hotel rooms are expected to be built in Belfast before 2018, as demand to visit the city outstrips current supply.

The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation is predicting an additional 1,074 hotel rooms are due to be built over the next three years. Visitors to Belfast can also expect to see a boom in premium accommodation, as the four and five-star room offering increases by approximately 25 per cent.

The Federation, which represents more than 85 per cent of hotel accommodation in Northern Ireland, predicts a 15 per cent growth in hotels across the region overall.

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.”

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 per cent. 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.

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 of 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. 

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