MORE than 1,000 new hotel beds are in the works for Cork city in preparation for a tourism boom.
Five major hotel projects are under development, including new hotels in Parnell Place and on the South Mall.
As new direct transatlantic flights open up the lucrative American tourism market, business chiefs have hailed the major investment coming down the tracks in hotels across the city.
The first inbound flight from the US to Cork was fully sold out yesterday.
An extension at the Metropole will deliver a new urban-style city centre hotel called the M, while the refurbishment of the Kingsley will also add significantly to the number of beds in Cork.
Longer term, BAM's redevelopment of the former government buildings on Sullivan's Quay will add significantly to the numbers in the city.
More than 800 beds are already confirmed under these multi-million developments, with the delivery of a new hotel and hostel in Parnell Place expected to push this figure over the 1,000 mark when developers reveal their final plans.
Lawrence Owens, chief executive of the Cork Business Association, said the new beds are badly needed as more leisure and business tourists visit Cork.
"We definitely need additional beds in the city. It is an indicator of how well we are performing in tourism terms that the demand is there and the sooner these beds are available, the better."
Conor Healy, chief executive of Cork Chamber, said that the investment in the city's tourism offering has been 'significant.'
"In the context of this investment then it is certainly very welcome to see these hotel developments," he said.
"We have seen a lot of interest and this is growing, in particular in terms of inbound US customers after the historic launch of the Norwegian flights this weekend. We will see a significant increase in the number of US visitors so we have to have the beds for them."