Northern Ireland's hotel room prices take a dip
Landmark global events fail to halt 4% decrease in rates
Prices for hotel rooms in Belfast and Londonderry dropped slightly in the first six months of 2013, despite landmark events including the World Police and Fire Games and the UK City of Culture celebrations.
The drop has been blamed on an improved euro to sterling exchange rate.
Belfast room rates fell by 4% to an average of £70, while in Derry they dropped by 2% to £69 compared to the same period the previous year.
The latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index showed that on an all-Ireland level hotel room rates continued to show signs of recovery in the first six months of 2013, with an increase of 2% to €92 or £77 compared to the same period last year.
This is the third consecutive year that room rates have risen following steep declines in previous years.
The survey is based on bookings made on Hotels.com and prices shown are those actually paid by customers around the world, rather than advertised rates, in the first half of 2013.
While Kilkenny and Galway also saw a small decline, Dublin, Cork and Killarney all saw modest rises, while Sligo and Limerick remained static.
The modest increase in hotel prices in the Republic has been attributed to a number of events including The Gathering and advanced bookings for concerts such as the Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball tour which took place in four cities around Ireland in July.
The 2% rise in Dublin prices has been attributed to boosts to the conferencing and events sector and the return of Michelle Obama with her daughters in June.
Kate Hopcraft from the Hotels.com brand said that while the global rise in hotel prices is relatively small, it shows a trend of slowly increasing rates.
"In Ireland, which registered a 2% rise in the first six months of 2013, we once again saw festivals and major events helping drive this recovery and initiatives such as The Gathering, which has been promoted heavily by Tourism Ireland around the world, have given the industry a much-needed boost," she said.
"At an average of €84 (£70) per night, Belfast's room rates dropped below the national average of €92 (£77) in the first half of the year, mainly due to an improved exchange rate."