Posted on Tuesday 27 May 2014 by Ulster Business
Northern Ireland's hotel sector reaped the rewards of a series of high profile events last year with both occupancy and room rates heading higher.
Those are the findings of the latest Annual Hotel Industry Survey from accountants ASM which said the Derry/Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture, the World Police and Fire Games and the G8 Summit all helped to boost business for the region's hoteliers.Average occupancy rates climbed to 74.8% from 73.2% last year while room rates reached £68.15, a 4% hike on 2012.
Michael Williamson, Director of Consulting at ASM, said the sector depended heavily on the events of the last two years.
"There is no question that these events have driven visitors into hotels, while helping to garner new respect and prestige for Northern Ireland as a whole," he said. "Given the challenging economic climate of the past few years, one wonders what might have happened to the industry were it not for the programme of events in 2012 and 2013."
Because the events were spread across Northern Ireland, it wasn't just Belfast that enjoyed a boost.Mr Williamson said the City of Culture generated 15,500 additional room nights for Londonderry while Belfast enjoyed its best year in terms of demand.
"The programme of events over the past two years has proven that Northern Ireland can deliver them every bit as well and probably better than anywhere else. The wider tourism industry should be proud of this fact because it will be an important differentiator for us and should be all the encouragement we need to bid for other major events and tournaments in the future".