The hospitality industry is in the middle of its biggest hotel construction period in history, the British Hospitality Association revealed today.
Since 2002, a total of more than 74,000 new hotel rooms have come on stream with a further 15,000 under construction for 2009, and 31,000 rooms in the planning or construction stage for 2010 and beyond.
The BHA's Trends and Developments 2008 report says the present construction cycle is the greatest in the industry's history, surpassing the building boom of the late 1960s.
BHA chief executive Bob Cotton said there was no doubt that the hotel industry was in the middle of an "immensely important period of new construction".
The BHA estimates investment, including refurbishment of existing hotels, at more than £5bn a year at present levels - despite the credit crunch.
"So far, the economic downturn has not materially affected these plans, partly because of the long lead-time needed for hotel construction, but it might slow down future plans," Cotton said.
"On the other hand, the Olympic Games in 2012 are putting pressure on new hotels to be completed on time."
The budget hotel sector is by far the biggest beneficiary of this boom, with its number of rooms rising from 50,000 in 2001 to 97,000 in 2008.
But a wide selection of higher-priced, full-service hotels has also appeared, since 2002 representing some 32,000 new rooms in a building boom that has taken place throughout the country, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also benefiting.
By Gemma Sharkey
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