- Every tourism accommodation provider must be certified by Tourism NI to operate legally
- Costs are as little as £40
Tourism NI has launched a new accommodation certification campaign ahead of peak season to encourage all accommodation providers along the Causeway Coastal Route area to get visitor ready this year.
As Northern Ireland continues to be a must-see, must visit destination and visitor numbers steadily increase, it is no surprise to see considerable growth in the number of accommodation providers across the country.
The industry wide campaign, backed by the NI Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards, highlights the importance of operating legally and the overall ease of the process.
All tourist accommodation providers must receive certification by Tourism NI in order to operate legally. There are currently 47,556 bed spaces across Northern Ireland in a diverse range of establishments from hotels and B&BS right through to hostels and bunkhouses.
Close to 4 million overnight trips were taken in the first nine months of 2017 with visitors spending £2.7 million every day. This increase in demand means that all providers must be aware of and comply with certain legislative minimum standards.
Aine Kearney, Tourism NI’s Director of Business Support and Events said:
“Tourism is key to the future growth of the Northern Ireland economy so it is vital that we continue to offer visitors a top quality experience and all accommodation providers have an important role to play here. There has been a 20% increase in certified accommodation from 2016 to 2017, 13% of those certified were trading without a certificate. More importantly, trading without certification could result in legal action against the operator as well as reputational damage to the wider industry.
“The process of applying for certification is very simple and can be completed online. It is cost effective with fees as low as £40 for a four year period.
“Once you are certified, we will carry out one statutory inspection of the property over the four year period. This ensures that all providers are aware of the need to comply with relevant regulations affecting accommodation, can operate on a level playing field, not compromise on quality and give confidence to consumers about our tourism offering.”
The benefits of certification also gives business owners the chance to engage directly with Tourism NI and obtain access to a wide range of services including start-up advice, direction on operational issues, marketing guidance, social media support and free listings on Discover NI’s website.
Scott and Emma Borthwick own ‘The Carrick’ in Portrush. Newly certified this year, it offers guests a boutique experience within an Edwardian Townhouse.
Scott says; “Our only aim is to create an incredible experience for every guest – getting certified was vital for our business growth.
“Becoming certified has also offered a constant stream of information and support from Tourism NI, which we’d never even considered. If you’re looking to get into the hospitality industry, the certification process is seamless and very worthwhile.”
Tourism NI has committed to running accommodation certification information sessions as the tourist season progresses and encourages anyone who is unsure of the process to attend. To find out more about how to get your premises certified please visit
https://forms.tourismni.com/forms/or contact tourismni.com/accommodation