A MAJOR hotel chain will splash £5 million to build their first Inverclyde hotel and hope to create a string of new jobs.

The budget operator Travelodge is still searching for the right site in Greenock - four years after first announcing plans to open up locally.

Hotel bosses say they want to capitalise on the cruise passenger boom at the Ocean Terminal, which is the subject of a £15m expansion plan due for completion by spring or summer next year.

Travelodge chiefs have refused to identify sites they are considering, but insist they are actively on the lookout for the best plot and that a Greenock hotel remains a top priority.

Pascal Bamford, Travelodge district manager for west Scotland, said: "Greenock, the historic industrial town with the impressive Victorian buildings, has been selected as one of our key locations. "We are actively looking for the ideal site to open our first hotel. "This will represent an investment of £5 million and a job creation of 15. "It's also great news for the local economy as Travelodge customers spend double their room rate with local businesses during their stay which equates to a multi-million spend annually."

Travelodge first announced plans to open in Greenock in 2015.

Officials are tight-lipped about the timeline for opening their first Inverclyde hotel.

The update on the company's plans for Greenock comes as the latest Scottish Travelodge in Govan - next to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital - launched earlier this month.

Mr Bamford said: "Scotland is growing from strength to strength and is a top 'staycation' destination.

"Therefore to meet growing demand post-Brexit we are looking for a further 21 hotel sites across the country, which includes Greenock. "Collectively this expansion programme represents an investment of £125m for third party investors and job creation of 380."