The easing of COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions in the Republic of Ireland has slowed a flood of staycationers from the Republic to Northern Ireland, however, Northern Irish hoteliers have said that visitors from the Republic are continuing to boost hotel business in the region.
As reported by The Irish Times, Northern Irish Hotels Federation (NIHF) chief executive Janice Gault noted that there has been “some fall-off” in visitors from the Republic since the Republic eased travel restrictions on July 19, but reportedly added that that the Republic market remains buoyant, with people seeing it as a destination to compete with the likes of Galway and Cork.
The Irish Times quotes Gault as saying, “In many ways the pandemic has repositioned cities like Belfast and Derry with people keen to visit somewhere new with limited options in the short term.”
Gault reportedly also said that hotels in Northern Ireland sold 75.3% of their rooms in July, with Belfast’s occupancy being 73.8%, and, “The hope is that summer southern visitors who have enjoyed their experience will act as advocates and that we can continue to grow this market.”
Belfast’s Fitzwilliam Hotel reportedly said that large numbers of visitors from the Republic have helped to keep the venue fully booked since it reopened in May, and visitors from the Republic to the hotel have more than trebled since the start of the pandemic and now account for 55% of its guests, ahead of local guests and guests from Britain.
Fitzwilliam Hotel general manager Cian Landers reportedly said that there is still huge potential to grow business from the Republic following a steady rise in visitors in recent years.
Landers reportedly noted that guests from Republic are now the hotel’s biggest market, and reportedly added, “Pre-COVID that would have been totally reversed with Republic of Ireland visitor numbers languishing behind Britain, the United States and Northern Ireland.”
The hotel, which is a sister property to Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Hotel, is reportedly expecting to stay fully booked through September.
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