Belfast's hotels are experiencing their best year since 2006 thanks to the “Titanic effect”, according to a major hospitality report. The study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggested that a current rise in hotel occupancy in the city is due chiefly to a surge of interest generated by the opening this year of the £97 million Titanic Belfast tourist attraction, as well as the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's ongoing “Our Time, Our Place” campaign.
Year-on-year occupancy for the eight months to the end of September was up 15 per cent on the year before, with overall revenue up one-fifth. PwC said that the March opening of Titanic Belfast prompted the biggest increase in hotel occupancy for that month for nearly a decade. Occupancy in April – the centenary of the doomed ship's sinking – was up by 25 per cent in the city's top 38 hotels, and overall revenue and revenue per available room was ahead by 45 per cent from the year before.
PwC partner and hospitality expert Stephen Curragh said that the figures underline the boost that the attracton has given to Belfast's hospitality economy. “While last year's MTV Music Awards accounted for around 8,000 room nights, with the event delivering delivering an estimated £22m to the Belfast economy, it was March and the launch of the Titanic Belfast Festival that really saw a substantial jump in Belfast hotel occupancy and revenues.”
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Since its opening in March 2012, Titanic Belfast has had more than 500,000 visitors.