While England and Scotland may be experiencing a boon for hotels, Northern Ireland seems to be left behind.
According to a report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the overall figure for people staying in Northern Ireland hotels dropped by nearly 7 percent in 2008. October was the worst month when occupancy numbers fell by nearly 10 percent.
“The overall decline in revenues per available room has been less than one percent – well below the experience of London and other cities,” says Stephen Curragh, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. “While poor bookings and the economic crisis make it impossible to forecast the end of this downturn, aggressive marketing of the region, its attractions and events, may offer opportunities to win visitors and revenue in a rapidly-shrinking market,” he adds.
On the other hand, Curragh suggests that the weakness of sterling against the euro could help the industry because it makes the north appealing to UK and Irish stay-at-home travelers.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster says, “It’s important that we get out into the world and we say that Northern Ireland is open for business, is open for tourism, and that’s what we must continue to do.”