Games boost for Belfast hotels

The World Police And Fire Games which will be held in Northern Ireland next year are already providing a welcome boost to the hotel sector in Belfast and beyond. It has been reported that almost a year and a half before the games are due to take place in August 2013 nearly £1 million of accommodation has already been booked in Belfast and other areas. The games will be the biggest event of this kind ever to be held in Belfast and it is expected that they will attract around 25,000 visitors from as many as 70 countries. Around 22,000 beds have already been booked in the hotels of Belfast as well as B&Bs and university halls of residence.

Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau has already booked rooms for guests and participants traveling from Sweden, Belgium, Germany and other parts of the UK and has dealt with inquiries from as far away as Canada, Australia, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. Mary Jo McCanny from Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau said: “The scale of it is both hugely exciting but also challenging in terms of meeting all the accommodation requirements over the extended 10-day period. The teams have all been incredibly impressed by the quality and variety of accommodation that we are offering here and all the visits so far have translated into firm bookings.”

The games are being funded mainly by the Northern Ireland Executive and it is now expected they will cost around £13.8 million to host which is a rise of just under £3 million on the original budget. A spokesman on behalf of World Police And Fire Games Ltd said: “The original business case estimate in 2009 (£10.95m) was based on the experience of previous Games. The revised business case (£13.8m) is based on a more detailed, up to date assessment of what will be required to deliver the event in Belfast next year. The anticipated benefit to the economy has also been revised upwards, from a maximum of £15.7m to £21.4m.”

These games, which are the third largest multi-sport event in the world, are expected to attract around 10,000 competitors taking part in 65 sports and will take place from 01-10 August next year and were last held in New York in 2011.