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Riots don't deter Belfast tourists

TOURISTS have not been deterred from visiting Belfast in the midst of the riots as bookings have remained "fast and steady".

Hastings Hotels group, which is behind the Europa and Stormont hotels, said that there will be visitors from over 80 countries in the city this weekend.

The Europa Hotel and Culloden Estate & Spa are both fully booked and the Stormont Hotel has a limited number of rooms available, the group said.

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience conference will take place in the Europa from January 18-25 and will have 350 international delegates from countries including Bangladesh, India and Serbia.

And Van Morrison, left, is taking to the stage at the Culloden Estate & Spa on Friday attracting visitors from the US, Australia, UK and Europe.

Sir William Hastings, chairman of Hastings Hotels, said. "While we have experienced some cancellations, it is positive to see that many people are not being put off visiting the city," he said.

"The current unrest is certainly unhelpful and unwelcome, however, the momentum generated over the last few years, and especially during 2012 has created for tourism a solid platform and a very promising future. Tourism is now seen as the long-term golden asset for the Northern Ireland economy."