Exeter needs more beds thanks to airport

Hotel News - 01/01/2008

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A recently released report commissioned by Exeter City council and East Devon District Council suggests that the area will require over 700 new hotel beds over the next 13 years if it is to keep up with the growing demand fueled by the expansion of Exeter International Airport.

The report says that the growing demand and low supply could mean that the region is losing business. The good news, however, is that the study also pointed to 16 companies in the process of scouting for sites for hotels which could bring in an extra 2,000 rooms.

Two such companies are in the final stages of writing their proposals: Bespoke, a boutique hotel chain, and Jury’s Inn. The latter is scheduled to open its doors in July next year.

Two other companies are close to securing sites for their hotel developments: The Big Sleep and Premier Travel Inn. Together, the two establishments would offer an additional 345 rooms to the region.

Although many companies are scouting and planning, numerous problems keep them from developing more quickly. Hotel chains claim that good land is not readily available, and there are problems in the area with congestion, parking and planning restrictions.

The report surveyed those using the hotel rooms in Exeter currently and found that two thirds of the occupants were business tourists. Although many firms using hotels in the area were satisfied with the quality of the services provided, they complained of difficulties with price and availability.

While some fear that new developments may push older establishments out of business, many other well established hotels have their own plans to expand. According to one hotel and leisure expert, John Kinsey, it is entirely likely that Exeter will succeed in creating 700 beds before 2021.

He said: "I would predict 600 to 700 beds in the next three years. It's all thanks to the extension of the airport and new flights. There's a big drive for the city centre, although peripheral sites by the Exeter Business Park and airport are also attractive."

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