Hotels across the West Midlands are looking to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to boost business after a volatile 18 months.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly tough for the hospitality sector. The newly published UK Hotels Forecast by PwC states: “In the bleakest outlook since benchmarking began, hotel occupancy rates in 2021 are forecast to be 55 per cent across the UK, and could take four years to return to pre COVID-19 levels.”
However, with increasing numbers of people holidaying in the UK, rather than travelling abroad, occupancy is predicted to rise, and to be higher in the regions than in London – 59.2 per cent compared to 52.4 per cent in the capital. PwC’s research shows that 37 per cent of people still plan to take their summer break within the UK in 2022.
Hotels in and around Birmingham are hoping that the forthcoming Commonwealth Games will provide a further boost, with an extra 39,000 visitors expected to visit the region within five years of the event, bringing in an estimated £12m in visitor spend.
In July, a Business and Tourism Programme was unveiled, designed maximise the long-term economic impact of the Games in the UK. This includes training for hospitality staff to become ambassadors for the region. Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport and tourism, said: “We want to level-up the country and help the tourism sector bounce back swiftly in the aftermath of coronavirus.”
Sarah Phillips, PwC’s Midlands retail and consumer markets leader, said: “In the Midlands, we hope to see a real boost to hotel occupancy resulting from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and generally from Business Tourism as we move to more in-person events.” PWC’s research indicates that hotels in the Midlands will reach occupancy rates of up to 96 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.