THE rising number of stag and hen parties in York is “scaring off” tourists, one of the city’s leading hoteliers fears.
Jeremy Cassel, managing director of Cassel Hotels Ltd, which operates The Grange Hotel in Clifton , says such groups bring drunken behaviour and little else to York, and risk the city’s reputation.
He says groups have been attracted due to the rise of budget hotels in York, and he has now backed calls by tourism chiefs for a fresh study of whether the city has too much visitor accommodation.
Mr Cassel believes an independent company should analyse the number of three, four and five-star rooms needed to meet demand, and says the arrival of more low-price hotels has sparked a raucous rise in stag and hen parties, which may be damaging York’s image.
He said: “These are now becoming a fixture at a weekend in York, with the consequent drunken behaviour. Is this the reputation we want for our city?
"My feeling is that these parties bring precious little to the city economy and are now scaring off the tourist who wants to have a pleasant family stay and spend in our shops.”
Visit York has suggested City of York Council should review hotel accommodation following proposals to transform the council’s offices in St Leonard’s Place into an 88-bedroom hotel.
The council is leaving St Leonard’s Place to move to its new HQ at West Offices in Station Rise.
Visit York has has supported the plans, but said this scheme and others approved or in the pipeline would mean more than 600 extra hotel beds in York. It says a “formal study”, involving existing hoteliers, should be carried out.
Mr Cassel said York already had “a great many more bedrooms per visitor” than other heritage cities, and the level of competition meant its average room-rate was comparatively lower.
He said hotels now had less money for reinvestment and refurbishment, leading to buildings being neglected and lower wages, and the “overwhelming view” among York hoteliers was that there was too much competition.
“I am certainly not against the development of more hotels as long as the business is there to sustain them, and it is vital the city economy grows and provides the stability which is so desperately needed," Mr Cassel said.
Council leader James Alexander has said a study has been “set in motion” to see if York’s tourism needs are being met.