NI Centenary Parade: Hotels ‘bunged’ as Orange marchers and musicians flock to Belfast – of 110 hotels just eight have rooms

One of the Orange Order’s most senior members has pointed out that the parade will bring a deluge of unionists into the city centre on Saturday – with wallets at the ready.

By Adam Kula
Friday, 27th May 2022, 7:30 pm
All the hotels marked with a -dash- have no availability at all on May 28!
All the hotels marked with a -dash- have no availability at all on May 28!

He was responding to complaints that the giant march will hurt businesses.

As just one example, Grand Lodge deputy Grand Master Harold Henning noted that hotels are totally saturated, as a search online confirms.

This afternoon the News Letter tried searching for a room for two people tonight on the site .

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Out of some 110 hotels in the wider city included in the search, only eight had rooms – and they could be relatively expensive rooms, too.

For example, the cheapest room available at the Holiday Inn (in the Sandy Row district close to the city centre) for tonight was coming up as £329.

The same standard double type of room was being sold on for £265 one week later, and £284 in four weeks’ time.

“We tried three weeks ago to get rooms, and there’s not a hotel room to be had,” Mr Henning said.

“We were looking a room around Stormont to save me going back to Kilkeel. Belfast is bunged.”

The Parades Commission said it had been contacted by Belfast City Centre Management, the government-funded body which helps run the commercial district.

This body had said that “parades, especially large parades, into the city centre have an adverse impact on commercial activity [and] discourage footfall into the city centre”.

Mr Henning told the News Letter that he anticipates 65,000 spectators (many of whom will follow the parade all the way to City Hall), including supporters from as far away as Canada.

“They need to be occupied in the morning up until the parade hits the city centre in the mid afternoon, so the shops should be able to do very well,” he said – adding that the amount being spent on hiring buses alone, just to get people there and back, is in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.