Room sales in NI hotels up on last year

Room sales in Northern Ireland's hotels were 11% higher this June compared to last year, according to new figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).

There were 178,000 rooms sold in hotels here in June. Overall occupancy levels reached 78% - up from 70% last year.

Image caption Hotels in the Belfast area experienced an higher than average rise in occupancy in June

The figures also show a big increase in business for guest houses and bed and breakfasts.

The number of rooms sold in that sector was up 15% over the year.

When measured across the first six months of the year, the occupancy rises were less dramatic, but still a solid 7% on average.

It suggests the rise in business happened later in the year and may be linked to the opening of Titanic Belfast.

Hotels in the Belfast area experienced an higher than average rise in occupancy, but the north west saw a drop of 1%.

Hotels in the mid-price range with rooms priced between £50 and £60 saw occupancy drop, but those below £50 and those above £60 saw occupancy increase.

This could be due to more availability in the mid-price range.

Having just spent £100m of public money on Titanic Belfast, the politicians have been hoping for a Titanic boost in tourism this year.

The figures for June are a positive start.

Hoteliers are reporting a distinct lift in trade since the opening of the tourist attraction on 31 March, but it is too early to say if this is the key factor boosting business and if the uplift will last.

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