Are too many hotel rooms being built in Inverness?
Inverness could be in danger of finding itself with too many hotel rooms, it has been suggested.
While the Highland capital continued to see record visitor numbers this summer, fears are beginning to be voiced that the tourism boom may not last.
A new 139-bedroom Courtyard by Marriott hotel is under construction at Inverness Airport Business Park and planning permission has just been granted for 29 new self-catering units in Church Street.
The Patio Hotels Group, which owns the city’s Kingsmills Hotel, has announced work will get under way soon on converting the former Highland Council service point in Church Street into a new four-star 79-bedroom hotel.
While planning permission was refused for a new 167-bedroom Moxy Hotel on the site of the former Glebe Street swimming pool, the site remains zoned for hotel development.
And as the Courier revealed recently, there are plans for a new 210-bedroom hotel on the site of the two-storey Rose Street car park and another 162-bedroom Marriott development that would require the demolition of the Ironworks music venue.
Tony Story, managing director of the Patio Hotels Group, said he felt the city might already be approaching saturation poin.
“We really sell rooms too cheaply during the winter time,” he said. “During the first and last quarters most operations will lose money and try to make up that loss during the spring and summer.
“We have to be extremely cautious about how many hotel rooms we take onto the marketplace.”
Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay also worried the current positive picture for Highland tourism may not last.
“One of the main reasons for the current boom is the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote to leave the EU,” he said. “That has made it much cheaper for foreign visitors to come to Inverness and other parts of Scotland.
“Once Brexit is sorted out, I expect the value of the pound to rise again.”