Posted on Thursday 2 March 2017 by ub digital

Hotel sector revival stirs asian interest

From left are Alex Speers, Brian Lavery, Jileen Loo, and Paul Collins

The phenomenal revival in Northern Ireland’s hotel sector has drawn the attention of Asian investors, according to agents CBRE.

It said interest has emerged from China for some of the most prized hotel assets on these shores amid a frenzy of building activity and steady growth in the number of tourists.

“CBRE have had enquiries from Asian investors looking at Northern Ireland, some of whom may consider hotel development projects,” the agents said in a new report which tracks hotel development here.

It counted 27 hotel schemes currently being built or in the planning stages which in total account for 3,750 rooms in total.

Alex Speers, Senior Surveyor, CBRE Northern Ireland said the boom in supply will help satiate strong demand.

“With a strong demand for hotel rooms and an ever-growing tourism industry, it is encouraging to see developers addressing this requirement in Belfast,” she said. “The hotel sector has strengthened over the last number of years and made significant strides in 2016 with the Bullitt Hotel and phase one of the Ten Square extension in the City Centre open.

“Interestingly, on top of new hotels, a number of prominent hotels in the city are proposing extensions and refurbishments to create a stronger offering; these include the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Holiday Inn Express and Jurys Hotel.”

Meanwhile, Jileen Loo, Head of Asia Desk, International Capital Markets for CBRE Hotels, said the potential for investment from Asia and for tourism is strong.

 “In 2016 we saw close to £2billion of hotels sold to Asian investors in the UK and Europe. This is a rise of nearly 5 times as much as what Asian investors purchased at the peak of the last cycle, and though not the dominant region of capital source, it is the fastest growing. In addition to Asian hotel brands expanding overseas to grow in international markets, we are increasingly seeing investment from private wealth looking to tap into the burgeoning outbound Chinese tourism market.”

“From beautiful castles in fairy tale settings to a capital city rich in history, Northern Ireland has much to offer first time visitors. However, understanding the Chinese tourists’ characteristics, needs and preference is important to hotel owners and operators if they want to future proof themselves and respond to trends which will impact their P&L.”

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