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Hotel building boom may slow next year, says BHA

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In the past couple of years London has seen more hotel openings than most capital cities experience in a decade – but there is likely to be a period of relative calm next year, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) has predicted.

Its latest British Hospitality: Trends and Statistics report said some 110 hotels and 14,000 hotel rooms opened, or were set to open, in the UK between July 2003 and December 2004, compared with 9,000 in 2002.

In total, more than £1.2b was invested in hotels in the period and, with more still to come, the industry was seeing its biggest investment for 40 years, the report added.

While big hotel chains such as InterContinental, Marriott and Radisson consolidated their position in the capital between 2002 and 2003, smaller and independent chains managed to survive too.

The survey highlighted the opening last November of the 64-bedroom Bentley Hotel, and the opening in March of the 59-bedroom Zetter hotel and the 66-bedroom Baglioni.

Outside London, boutique hotel chains, such as Hand Picked Hotels, are proving popular and continue to do well, said the BHA.

As the number of greenfield sites starts to dwindle, budget chains are now looking more closely at urban locations for their hotels, it added.

Bob Cotton, BHA chief executive, said a further 11,000 bedrooms were scheduled to open over the next few years.

‘What is good is that the expansion is in all sectors of the industry – from budget to de luxe. But equally important are the extra rooms and general refurbishment projects throughout the country. We know these are continuing but figures are too difficult to estimate. Taking these into account, this must be the biggest investment in the industry since the late 1960s and represents a huge vote of confidence in the future’, he added.

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