Belfast Telegraph

Top hotelier: "We knew peace was here before GFA"

Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

Hotelier and publican Bill Wolsey saw the business opportunities peace presented here ahead of the signing of the Agreement.

The man behind the geographical shift of Belfast's social scene to the Cathedral Quarter said: "We were planning The Merchant Hotel after the Good Friday Agreement but my view is that the population was ahead of the politicians. We didn't need an agreement to know peace had arrived.

"We wanted this to end and on the back of that feeling we knew the dark days were over and the Good Friday Agreement cemented that. When we looked at the Cathedral Quarter the police told us weekend footfall was just 500. On a Friday now it's 5,000."

Mr Wolsey, whose other businesses include Bullitt Hotel and pizza chain Little Wing added: "We knew that tourism would rise too. It was coming from a very low base and that gave me the confidence to put up a hotel that would make the people of Belfast proud."

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