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27 May 2016

FSB call on new Economy Minister to support year-round tourism experience offered by small businesses.

RESPONDING to The 2015 Annual Tourism Statistics Report published earlier today, FSB Northern Ireland Policy Chair Wilfred Mitchell OBE commented:

“The recent tourism figures for Northern Ireland are encouraging but there remains the need to sustain and build upon visitor contribution to the local economy.  One of the primary methods of achieving this is to increase the stay of visitors beyond one night, through the NI Executive expanding focus beyond one-off global events, such as The Irish Open 2015,  to a sustainable year-round offering.

“This can be achieved through recognising and supporting the development of the many visitor experiences and products offered by small businesses which are instrumental in developing the unique offering and character of many areas.  FSB therefore welcomes the announcement by the newly appointed Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA, of a ten year tourism strategy and urge the Minister to recognise the need to build upon the considerable contributions being made to tourism by small businesses.”

Mr Mitchell added that there was the need to ensure a competitive edge with other countries offering more attractive prices to both business visitors and tourists, such as the Republic of Ireland.   

“As acknowledged by the Economy Minister there is the need to increase the number of business visitors, and in order to do this the Executive must ensure that Northern Ireland is a competitive and attractive place to do business and visit. 

“Tourism and travel are fiercely competitive markets, and it is essential that Northern Ireland strive to remove barriers such as Air Passenger Duty on short-haul flights, which has been abolished in our nearest neighbour and competitor, the Republic of Ireland.” 

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