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Room rates in the capital falls more than in other major cities

Hotel room rates dipped in most major UK cities in the first half of this year - but Belfast was worst, according to new figures.

Average room rates in the city fell 12% from £93.05 in the first half of 2009 to £81.71 in January-June 2010, statistics from travel service company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) showed.

Rates for Bristol hotels were down by an average of 6% in the first half of this year, while Manchester rooms were 5% down and there were 4% reductions in room rates in Edinburgh, Leeds and Glasgow.

London rates were the most expensive in the UK on average and also rose slightly in the first half of this year, going up from £153.30 to £154.18.

HRG said demand for London hotels dipped during the bad weather at the beginning of this year but rose during the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud crisis in April.

The crisis also led to a fractional rise in rates at Heathrow airport hotels, with average prices going up from £103.06 in the first half of last year to £103.87 in the first six months of 2010.

Worldwide, London was 23rd most-expensive city for hotel rooms in the first half of this year.

The most expensive city in January-June 2010 was Moscow with average prices of £256.83.

This was a 12% dip on the same period last year but still put the Russian city well ahead of second-place Geneva where prices rose 3% to £199.11 in the first half of 2010.

The biggest rate reduction in the first half of this year was for room rates in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, which fell 26% to £185.62.