Squeeze on in Culture year!

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Derry faces a serious shortfall in accommodation during the summer of Culture year in 2013, even if new hotels and hotel expansions happen as planned.

Deirdre Harte of Derry City Council told a meeting in the Everglades Hotel on Wednesday evening that the city’s nine hotels are already touching the 100% occupancy mark during peak times.

The big question was how the city was going to cope with an upsurge in demand during City of Culture year.

Ms Harte, who works with the Tourism Development Unit, said that both the City Hotel and Tower Hotel were planning expansions.

It was suggested that two new hotels, at Crescent Hotel and at William Street, could also be in operation for 2013. However, this would only give another 174 rooms.

Another seven hotels are either being planned or have been proposed.

She told the meeting - held to update local business people on preparations for Culture year - that the Council is exploring all options to try to add to the city’s accommodation bank.

These include possible places for camping, caravans and motorhomes, and also getting people to rent out spare rooms or vacant properties.

The Council estimes there are places for around 2000 people to stay in the Derry City Council area There are 7,500 places within thirty miles, and more than 14,000 within 60 miles.

A seminar on accommodation during Culture year is being held in the Waterfoot Hotel later this month.