Edinburgh is the UK capital of hotels with city leading recent hotel boom

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EDINBURGH was the top-performing city for hotels outside of London in the past year, helped by an influx of overseas visitors and a rise in the number of Britons holidaying closer to home, according to a report.

The latest Hotel Britain report from accountants and business advisers BDO reveals Scotland as a whole posted the strongest performance in the UK in 2017, with average room yield, or revenue, growing by almost 5 per cent in a year to £56.70. This compared to a rise of just over 4 per cent in Wales, 2.2 per cent in Northern Ireland and just under 2 per cent in England.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel, (Caledonian Hotel) Lothian Road.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel, (Caledonian Hotel) Lothian Road.

Edinburgh benefited from strong leisure and corporate demand, with the capital boasting the highest occupancy levels of any UK city at 85 per cent, an increase of 1.8 per cent on the previous year.

Today’s report states: “The story of Scottish hotels in 2017 is one of great success.

“The boom in tourism following the depreciation of the pound after the Brexit vote has attracted record-breaking overseas visitor numbers to Scotland as well as the rest of the UK.”

While Edinburgh hotels were booming, the occupancy rate for Glasgow also increased slightly to 83.2 per cent.

However, Aberdeen, which has been hit by the oil industry downturn, experienced the lowest hotel occupancy rate in the UK at 63.4 per cent – a decline of more than 5 per cent on the figures for 2016.

UK-wide, BDO said overseas visitor numbers grew for the eighth consecutive year, setting a new annual record at 38.9 million.

Spending in the leisure and hospitality market also hit record levels at £24.3 billion in 2017, up 8% year on year.

Martin Gill, partner and head of BDO in Scotland, said: “2017 proved to be a fantastic year of growth where Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK. Edinburgh was clearly the top performer and Glasgow had another positive year.

“Looking ahead, Scotland has an active pipeline with over 1,600 hotel rooms expected to open during 2018 and 2019.

“The strong performance demonstrates the industry’s robustness despite facing EU uncertainty and an increase in supply.”

He went on: “The Scottish hotel industry will hope to continue to benefit from the weak pound, which will attract overseas visitors and, indeed, the domestic market as the UK continues its ‘staycation nation’ status.

“The inaugural European Championships multi-sport event in Glasgow this summer will undoubtedly drive a further increase in overall visitor numbers for 2018.”

Hotel Britain is compiled from the responses of a representative cross-section of 649 hotels with a total of 53,912 rooms. It includes 141 London hotels and 508 in the rest of the country.

A report in February revealed average hotel room rates in Edinburgh had hit £100 per night for the first time as the city’s tourism sector defies uncertainty over Brexit. The report by property 
firm GVA said there was a 12.4 per cent rise in revenue per room.

newsen@edinburghnews.com