The UK tourism, hospitality and leisure industry is now worth more than £106b, £20b higher than official estimates, according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
The BHA's annual Trends and Statistics
These new hotels represent 13,000 rooms, up from 11,000 new rooms in the previous year.
With re-launches, refurbishment and the extension and modernisation of existing properties, the BHA estimates that £3b was invested in the UK hotel industry during the period, more than in any previous year.
Not only London (19 hotels, 2,700 rooms) saw new developments. Other major towns and cities enjoyed considerable expansion, including Manchester with three 200-plus room hotels opening during the year, with three more planned for 2008.
Liverpool, Newcastle-on-Tyne and Edinburgh also saw new investment. In the Budget category, Travelodge and Premier Travel Inn (now branded Premier Inn) opened more than 60 between them.
Expansion in resort areas, however, was slow (Brighton is an honourable exception) and after a £60m refit, Luton Hoo was the only major country house hotel to open in a category that boomed in the 1980s-90s.
Forecasts for the next five years show positive growth but the scrapping of the Hotel Buildings Allowance could have a negative impact on construction by independent operators, as well as forcing major companies to abandon some of their more marginal sites, the BHA warned.
"Trends and Statistics shows that we have a buoyant industry but with plenty of challenges ahead," said BHA chief executive Bob Cotton.
"There has never been a time when there has been more investment in the UK hospitality industry, but we must make ever greater efforts to promote the UK as a domestic holiday destination."
By Daniel Thomas