Chair of Manchester Hoteliers’ Association (MHA) Adrian Ellis said the unimaginable night of terror at Manchester Arena, which resulted in 22 innocent people losing their lives, created a sense of anxiety across the city.
But the 53-year-old, who is also The Lowry’s General Manager, believes the situation is improving with tourists, visitors and families from the UK and abroad beginning to fill the 9,000 hotel bedrooms across Manchester once again.
“What happened on May 22 had never happened before on this scale in this great city,” said Adrian.
“It was a night of unimaginable terror. The city, its people and indeed the hotel sector united however, in a show of strength.
“In those immediate hours after the bomb went off, people fleeing the arena were given shelter and safety by hoteliers who opened their doors and supported them in any way they could. So much happened that showed the best of people.”
He added: “In the first week or two, following the attack, general managers of hotels reported a softening when it came to people booking hotel rooms.
“While there was a lot of uncertainty, that feeling is starting to change now, with tourists, visitors and families returning to stay in the city’s hotels.”
According to Marketing Manchester, a staying visitor in paid for accommodation spends an average of £97 per person per day including accommodation, and £58 excluding accommodation.
Greater Manchester’s visitor economy, which currently generates £7.9 billion including the £4.2bn generated in Manchester, has felt the pinch since May 22.
Adrian, who has spent almost 18 months in the region’s top role for a hotelier, says the hotel community – like many others – will soon begin to prosper following the attack.
“Manchester has so much to offer,” said Adrian, who has also served as chair of hoteliers’ associations in major European and Asian cities.
“The way Manchester reacted collectively to the terror attack was just amazing and showed the world what the city and its people are all about.
“With this in mind, I believe tourism will thrive in the months to come, as one person’s despicable actions won’t stop people wanting to visit this great city.”
Adrian, who made appearances on BBC News, Radio 5 Live and Sky News following the attack, also said the experience has urged MHA members to press on with the good work the organisation has been doing.
“Like many, I didn’t expect to have to react to a terror attack in Manchester. I remember speaking to the media on a number of occasions, wishing the families and friends of victims our kindest thoughts and revealing how hotels and the hoteliers that run them helped people by opening their doors and offering them safe places to enter at a time of huge distress.”
He added: “At MHA we have just shy of 50 General Managers of hotels across the region signed up as members. We focus on being a strong voice for our hotel community so we can ultimately improve what we offer to people spending time in this city region.”