Visit Belfast has said (7 October) that Belfast is on track for its most successful tourism year to date, with hotel occupancy and room rates, visitor interest and tourist enquires all at record levels for the first half of 2015.
The organisation, which promotes Belfast locally, nationally and internationally, also said that figures for July and August showed no slowdown in visitor interest, with hotels experiencing strong demand. Its visitor services team reportedly handled 340,000 enquiries between January and June, a third more than last year.
With both, business and leisure tourists, Belfast’s average hotel occupancy from June to August rose 3.8% to 86.2%, as room sales rose 4.7%.
Visit Belfast said the city’s tourism growth could be due to their success achieved through bidding for and winning major conferences and events. In the year to the end of June, the organisation secured 24 national and international conferences for the city worth an estimated £28.3m and delivering 66,340 bed nights for local hotels.
A total of 37 events have been held since January, generating round 44,500 bed nights and an economic impact of around £13m.
Chair of Belfast City Council’s Growth and Regeneration Committee, Clir Deirdre Hargey, said: “Belfast’s tourism figures for the year to date are hugely encouraging for the development of the city’s tourism industry and should mean record success for the year as a whole.”
“It’s easy to get to, easy to get around, is packed with warm and welcoming people and offers great value for money. Belfast always has a busy programme of festivals and events to support tourism growth.”