Business as usual in Belfast says Sir Billy

Hotelier Sir Billy Hastings
Hotelier Sir Billy Hastings

TOURISTS and business visitors are still travelling and staying in Belfast despite the ongoing flag protests hotelier Sir Billy Hastings said yesterday.

Stating that visitors from more than 80 countries were expected this weekend he said it was business as ususal for the firms three hotels in and around the city.

The Europa and Culloden Estate & Spa are both fully booked and the Stormont Hotel has a limited number of rooms available he said.

“We are delighted to see that people are still visiting Belfast, despite the current situation,” said Sir Billy who was knighted in 2009 for services to tourism and the community.

“While we have experienced some cancellations, it is positive to see that many people are not being put off visiting the city.

Now chairman of the six-hotel family-run business, he said the present situation could not be allowed to jeopardise the progress made.

“The current unrest is certainly unhelpful and unwelcome. However, the momentum generated over the last few years, and especially during 2012 has created for tourism a solid platform and a very promising future.

“Internationally, Northern Ireland is now seen as an interesting tourism destination. We have superb products which are now, more than ever before, being effectively marketed,” he added.

:: Traders in the city will meet this evening at 6pm in the Europa to discuss the impact of the protests.