Sat, 03 Dec 2022

Today on World Tourism Day 2022, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has visited tourism attractions and hospitality venues in the Mid & East Antrim area to view how an additional Pound 6.5m funding package is helping to sustain and grow the sector.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with Clare McKitterick, Duty Officer, The Gobbins Cliff Path, Islandmagee.

Economy Minister Lyons said: "Northern Ireland's Pound 1billion tourism industry remains one of the largest employers in the local economy with almost 1 in 10 of the working population employed in the sector - 70% of those jobs being outside of Belfast. This industry continues to strive and meet the challenges of being more sustainable, inclusive, and innovative post-pandemic and this must be commended.

"I was pleased to be in East Antrim today to witness how funding delivered through Tourism NI is bolstering the recovery of the tourism industry. This funding is being used by local tourism and hospitality providers to drive much needed additional business through its doors and reduce the risk of job losses in the sector. The additional Pound 6.5m I recently allocated to Tourism NI is vital as tourism providers continue to mitigate the knock-on effects of the pandemic and the new challenges of rising energy, produce and labour costs."

The Minister continued: "Tourism is a key element of our desire to develop Northern Ireland as one of the small elite economies of the world. Delivering an enhanced tourism offering will be central to promoting Northern Ireland's reputation and attractiveness globally.

"I am committed to producing a regenerative Northern Ireland Tourism Strategy with a global focus up to 2030 which sets out the essential principles, vision and key aims necessary to drive growth in this important sector. The Strategy is important to the 10X Economic Vision, enabling tourism to fulfil its important role in the innovation and transformation agenda for our local economy." 

Explaining how the Pound 6.5m will support the sector, Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, said: "This additional funding will be crucial in supporting the tourism industry to face a series of existing and emerging challenges. A significant portion of the funding will go towards uplifting our marketing activities with the aim of generating an additional Pound 20m visitor revenue from the domestic market and an additional Pound 56m visitor revenue from the ROI market. We will also be investing in more branding and gateway presence at airports.

"Through our Kickstart scheme we want to continue to drive business diversification and competitiveness as the sector continues its recovery. We will also continue our roll out of a recruitment and skills campaign to build on the success of previous campaigns as well as support key initiatives such as the One Young World Summit next year, our events programme and further product development."  

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