Belfast leads way in UK for growth of new hotel rooms
Belfast's hotel room numbers are growing at the fastest rate in the UK - with 1,247 currently being built, new research reveals.
A total of 1,060 are expected to open in 2018, with 61% of these in new hotels and 39% in extensions or conversions, according to the statistics from Savills.
Savills says that by 2020 just three operators - Hastings, Dalata and Andras House - will control close to half of all hotel rooms in the city.
Nine hotels have received planning permission, four of which are at an advanced stage of construction. One extension is awaiting approval.
Those being built include the 304-bedroom Grand Central on Bedford Street, Dalata's Maldron at Brunswick Street, the new Hampton by Hilton at Hope Street, and the AC by Marriott at City Quays.
The report says that, assuming all planned developments are built, it would represent a 36% increase on the current hotel room stock of 3,400 by 2019.
Belfast now has the largest hotel development pipeline in the UK as a percentage of existing stock, it adds.
Aaron Spring, associate director of hotels and leisure at Savills Ireland, said: "Its growing appeal as a business and leisure destination has resulted in Belfast achieving the second highest hotel occupancy in the UK, just behind Edinburgh.
"With strong experienced hotel operators, who have large existing footprints in Belfast, undertaking the projects nearing completion, it is a great vote of confidence in the city.
"I also expect to see more regional hotel projects commencing in high demand areas such as the north Antrim coast next year, due to the growing popularity of these areas and lack of new bedroom stock in recent years."
Others currently being developed include the easyHotel on Belfast's Howard Street, which has received planning permission.
There are also a number of hotel extensions planned across the city to improve the offering for guest.
They include the Fitzwilliam, which will see 18 rooms added, the Bullitt, with an extra 30 rooms, and the Holiday Inn Express, which will see another 60 rooms.
And Jurys Inn at Great Victoria Street has finished a refurbishment of its 190 rooms, lobby and bar.