It’s not just Dublin that’s on the map: Belfast is giving them some healthy competition.
The latest figures compiled by HVS show that Belfast recorded one of the strongest revenue per available room (RevPAR) with a double-digit growth during the third quarter of 2017.
The robust market once again is outpacing UK GDP, with hotel growth averaging at 6% over the last 20 quarters compared to UK GDP growth of under 1% during the same period. The top performers, Belfast and Edinburgh, achieved 11% RevPAR due to more visitors taking advantage of the weaker pound.
The outlook for 2018 to include more of the same. In October 2017, Lonely Planet listed Northern Ireland at the top of its annual destination trends list; beating the Julian Alps in Slovenia, Alaska in the United States and Languedoc-Roussillon in France.
James Smart, Lonely Planet’s Britain and Ireland destination editor, said that “Belfast and the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top ten regions because it is deservedly now recognised as a must-visit destination by travellers from across the globe.”
James explained that Belfast has put its troubled past behind it: “Belfast is a city transformed, its streets packed with buzzing bars and great stories, while the coastline beyond boasts spectacular scenery and plenty of great diversions. The region may be famous for Game of Thrones, but its many scenic filming locations are just the start.”
Speaking about the 2018 guide, chief executive of Tourism NI John McGrillen commented:
“The word is officially out there; Northern Ireland is a must-see destination. This is a game changer for Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route and indeed the rest of Northern Ireland. We are thrilled and excited to read words like ‘unforgettable’, ‘unmissable’, ‘sensation’ and ‘extravaganza’ in Lonely Planet’s praise of our tourism gems.”
Belfast has transformed into a hub of trendy bars, restaurants and venues to suit a variety of preferences.