Brexit tourism boost as business booms for Belfast hotels

Brexit has been highlighted as one of the main factors behind the booming tourist trade which Belfast experienced towards the end of last month.

Belfast hotels had an 88.5% bed occupancy rate in July
Belfast hotels had an 88.5% bed occupancy rate in July

Industry chiefs said there was a noticeable upturn compared to the same period last year, due in part to major music festivals – and the impact of Brexit on the pound.

Two English business travellers told the News Letter that they were unable to find two rooms in any Belfast hotel on Thursday August 25.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board spokeswoman Rachel Quigg said: “The notable increase in hotel occupancy in Belfast recently is due in part to large-scale music events such as Belsonic, Tennents Vital, the current exchange rate on the euro as well as the last weekend in August being a bank holiday in Northern Ireland.”

Average hotel occupancy statistics across July showed that Belfast had a 88.5% bed occupancy rate, with industry experts predicting that August’s level will turn out to be 87% – exceeding the same month last year.

Feedback from 500 tourism businesses, she said, shows that hotels seem to be optimistic about their prospects for the remainder of the year, with 76% anticipating growth.

Julie Hastings, marketing director of Hastings Hotels, also said music events and Brexit had given a boost.

“Demand for rooms in the Europa, Stormont and Culloden Hotels in the last week of August was up 8.4% on the same period in 2015, with revenue up 12.7%,” she said.

“There are more and more events in Belfast and in Northern Ireland as a whole, bringing more and more out of state visitors to our shores filling our hotels.

“Coupled with Brexit and the fall of the pound, it has enabled great value travel from not only Dublin and other European regions but also from the rest of the UK, as prices here are so competitive.”