The Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association issued a press release stating that “sold out” weekends in Ottawa are a rarity, and that when they happen they are a sign of a strong destination – not a shortage.
“Tourism in Ottawa has developed a very positive momentum which is helping Ottawa’s economy,” stated OGHA’s executive director Dick Brown. “However, this momentum can be slowed by misperceptions about Ottawa’s ability to host major events due to a lack of hotel rooms.”
In recent years, seven or eight new hotels have added about 1,000 new guest rooms, or an additional 10 per cent, to the local hotel inventory, according to the OGHA.
Mr. Brown acknowledged that Ottawa would benefit from another hotel in the downtown core, and added that hotel development companies have their eye on the area.
Indeed, Groupe Germain, a Quebec City-based boutique hotel operator, is currently looking for development sites in the central business district and the ByWard Market.
“Do we have a serious shortage of hotel rooms? Absolutely not!” Mr. Brown stated.
But the Ottawa Convention Centre’s president Pat Kelly has previously warned that hundreds of delegates coming to the city at big-draw conferences is creating a shortage of hotel beds.
In a speech last year, Mr. Kelly said the city is missing out on some conventions due to the shortage, but added that it paled in comparison to the new business the convention centre is attracting.
“Ideally, we’d like to see another 600 to 700 hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention centre,” Mr Kelly said in an interview with The Voice, an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce publication. “A possible expansion to the Rideau Centre might include a hotel – or a residence/hotel building – that could serve us very well.”
The OGHA currently has 55 member hotels representing over 10,000 rooms and over 6,000 employees in Ottawa and Gatineau, according to its website.