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Over 6,000 jobs are to be created as NI hotel room numbers set to hit 10,000

By Margaret Canning

The construction of new hotels across Northern Ireland is set to increase the province's number of hotel rooms to over 10,000 in a £0.5bn investment, according to a report today.

The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, which hosts a major industry event this week, said the projects would bring a major employment boost both in construction and running the hotels.

It estimates that the building of new hotels will generate over 6,700 jobs during construction.

The federation says there are currently 8,030 rooms provided by 138 hotels.

However by 2020, there will be 151 hotels bringing the complete number of beds to 10,010.

Chief executive Janice Gault said it welcomed the increase in beds but added: "It is a very short time-frame to get a 20% increase in your marketplace."

The new venues include the Maldron, Grand Central and Marriott AC Hotel in Belfast.

But a single new hotel for Londonderry adding 150 new rooms brought the same percentage uplift as the proliferation of projects in Belfast.

New developments in Belfast alone were worth £250m, while £150m was being spent in the rest of the province. Another £100m was being invested in expansion and upgrades to existing properties.

Ms Gault said the fact that most of the new hotels being planned are mid-market to high-end would bring more jobs to the sector, as the dearer the room, the more workers it takes to maintain it.

According to the report, the average hotel in Northern Ireland now has 58 bedrooms. Three and four-star hotels account for 70% of all room stock.

A spokesman for the federation said: "The hotel sector in Northern Ireland has captured the imagination of investors, operators and consumers with a period of exceptional trading.

"The predictions of growth and levels of investments are at an unprecedented level and it is essential that the sector is supported by government so that it continues to create jobs ."

The report said hotel turnover in 2016 was more than £450m excluding Vat, with over two million hotel rooms occupied during the year.

  • Hospitality Exchange takes place today and tomorrow in Belfast's Crowne Plaza hotel

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