Belfast Telegraph

Derry hotels exploding with guests for Halloween party

By Brendan McDaid

Hotels in the North West are fast booking up ahead of Londonderry hosting the largest outdoor Halloween celebration in Europe.

The city itself had registered 90% occupancy as of yesterday for hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels and holiday lets for the five-day festival.

Derry, Strabane and Limavady will host a mass of themed events over the weekend.

The Derry Visitor & Convention Bureau (DVCB) said it was being inundated with inquiries from visitors across Ireland and further afield.

The city centre Tourist Information Office said that 80% of those calling in at present are international.

DVCB visitor services manager Odhran Dunne said the city’s business community were delighted with the levels of interest in the Halloween festival.

He said: “Occupancy levels leading up to Halloween are standing at 90% at the moment and getting closer to Halloween we will have 100% occupancy in some of the hotels.

“One of the main things is that many of the hotel owners, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation have been offering good deals to stay three or four nights in the city.

“Our message to visitors is that with mid-term at the moment, Derry, the City of Culture, is the only place to be this Halloween.

“With Halloween on a Monday this year it has really extended the weekend celebrations out beyond October and that is great for the hospitality, tourism and other sectors.

“This is an opportunity to maximise spin offs from the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“It should be as good, if not better, than previous years.

“There is a lot more happening in terms of products on the ground, tours, trails, events, the ghost train and ghost buses,” he added.

“There are so many more venues taking part this year in the spirit of the event.”

Mr Dunne said that the city was fast becoming a mecca for tourists ahead of the UK City of Culture year in 2013 and said that the Halloween template was being used for new festivals to be introduced over the next few years.

City centre manager Jim Roddy added: “The festival has grown considerably over the last number of years and is a true representation of the progress the city continues to make.”

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