Independent hotel chain Travelodge has confirmed plans to open a new hotel in Newcastle, saying it is actively seeking a site in the city.
The firm, which employs more than 200 people in the North East and has six hotels within a six mile radius of Newcastle city centre, has launched a strategy to open more hotel sites in key port locations.
The success of the Port of Tyne means the company is looking to open a further hotel in the city, which will create 30 jobs.
In total, Travelodge is looking for 14 new hotels in key port locations, at an investment of £84m, creating a total of 350 new jobs between them.
The news comes less than a year after Travelodge was forced to close its Silverlink hotel after landlords The Crown Estate took the site back.
That site now forms part of multi-million pound plans to extend the retail offering at Silverlink shopping scheme, with the hotel being turned into new shopping units.
Travelodge said the transformation of the UK ports industry during the last ten years has created a thriving and highly competitive industry with the number of people taking trips from UK ports rising year on year.
The UK is currently the number one cruise market in Europe and the second largest in the world, with figures from the Department for Transport showing how UK international sea passenger numbers rose to 22.4million in 2013.
Travelodge has 516 hotels in the UK, Ireland and Spain, 48 of which are based close to the busiest ports and have reported a collective 9% increase in occupancy during the last 12 months.
Paul Harvey, Travelodge managing director, property said: “As a result of more Britons taking to the waves, we have also experienced a boom at Travelodge.
“Our Port based hotels have seen a 9% rise in occupancy as Britons kick start their dream sea holiday by staying over in a Travelodge hotel prior to early embarkation.
“To support this growing holiday trend, we are looking for a further 14 new hotel sites at UK’s busiest Port locations. This includes sites in Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Harwich.”
James Cooper, chief executive officer of Associated British Ports, said: “The UK’s ports are going through something of a renaissance at the moment with significant investments taking place across the country.
“One of the fastest growing segments has been ferry traffic as people increasingly appreciate that ferries offer better value and less hassle than the alternatives.
“Also add the extraordinary growth in the cruise industry in recent years and it is not surprising that demand for hotels in our ports is also increasing.”