Room occupancy across province hits record highs

The weaker pound offers more scope for a further rise in visitor figures
The weaker pound offers more scope for a further rise in visitor figures

Latest tourism figures show that Northern Ireland hotels achieved record room occupancy levels this summer, with August reaching 88%, the highest ever achieved.

Across the wider accommodation sector there was a 7% increase in bed spaces sold in Northern Ireland hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and guest accommodation between January and August 2016 which equates to 186,300 additional beds sold compared with the same period in 2015.

“These latest results for August confirm the upward trend that we started to see from June this year and our latest research suggests a positive outlook for the second half of 2016 overall, with hotels, attractions and activity providers emerging as the most positive sectors,” said Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen.

In the long term he said the increase in air capacity into province compared to last year along with the announcement by Ryanair of a significant number of new European routes into Belfast International Airport for winter 2016/17, bodes well for the Great Britain and European markets.

“In the short term, a weaker pound is offering better value for money for and may also entice additional visitors, particularly from the Republic of Ireland market.

“Tourism NI continues to work hard to develop and sell Northern Ireland as a great place to visit and stay.

“These latest figures are a welcome boost for the tourism industry and will encourage us all to do what we can to grow tourism here.”

The figures come just days ahead of the opening of Belfast’s newest Bullitt Hotel developed by the Beannchor Group: one of a series of new builds and expansino taking place across the city and the rest of the province.