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Northern Ireland Hotels Federation appoints a new President

Stephen Meldrum

The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) has appointed a new President, Stephen Meldrum, who is the General Manager of Hastings Grand Central Hotel, Northern Ireland’s largest hotel.

Having worked for Hastings Hotels for over 18 years, Stephen has previously managed the Ballygally Castle Hotel, the Everglades Hotel, the Culloden Hotel and Spa Resort and the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa Hotel in County Down. He began his career with Croft Inns and managed several small family-run restaurants and bars before joining Hastings Hotels. Stephen has also previously been Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality NI.

On taking up his appointment and thanking the outgoing president Gavin Carroll, Stephen Meldrum said:

“Northern Ireland’s hotel industry has been rapidly evolving. In the last four years alone, the sector has invested in the region of £600m and room numbers are at record levels.  This growth is positive. However, with this level of expansion there are challenges to overcome, and part of the role of the President of the NIHF is to work with stakeholders and members to address these.

“Gavin had a very busy Presidency and we are very grateful for the effort that he invested in highlighting progress that has been made, while shining a light on issues that impact on our members’ businesses. During his tenure, the NIHF celebrated its 20th anniversary and this provided an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of skilled staff who have dedicated their careers to the industry, something which the NIHF’s Hotel Heroes Awards recognised.  However, we know that attracting skilled staff remains a challenge and this is an area that I will be continuing to work on over the course of my Presidency.”

He adds: “I am taking up the Presidency when the operating environment for members is difficult. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted negatively on consumer confidence and people are not spending as readily as before.  Members are resilient though and they are also keen to capitalise on opportunities, and the Federation will be looking at how our alliances and partnerships can be maximised to help us to do just that.  We are looking forward to another busy 12 months.”

Discussing the Presidency and the opportunities, NIHF President Stephen Meldrum continues:

“I love the hospitality industry.  My working career has been spent helping to develop and shape businesses which aim to deliver hospitality that exceeds customers’ expectations.  The industry in Northern Ireland has made massive progress and we have a wealth of talent to drive the sector forward. I’m looking forward to working with the NIHF board and its members to ensure that we maximise this potential.

“As we approach a new decade, the wider tourism and hospitality industry is well-positioned to break the billion-pound mark and continue on an upward trajectory. Strategic partnerships are more important than ever and the NIHF will be continuing to work with stakeholders to promote Northern Ireland and reinforce its place on the global stage.”

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