The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) has appointed Stephen Meldrum, general manager of Hastings Grand Central hotel in Belfast, as its new president. He takes over the role from Gavin Carroll.
Having worked for Hastings Hotels for more than 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 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.’
Stephen went on to say that he loved the hotel industry. Acknowledging that ‘massive progress’ had been made in the sector locally, he added that he was looking forward to working with the NIHF board and its members to ensure that potential was maximised.
‘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,’ he said.