Today, on World Tourism Day 2022 (Tuesday), Economy Minister Gordon Lyons visited tourist attractions and hospitality venues in the Central and Eastern Region of Antrim to see how additional funding of £6.5m is helping to support and grow the sector.
Economy Minister Lyons said: ‘Northern Ireland’s £1billion tourism industry remains one of the biggest employers in the local economy with nearly 1 in 10 of the workforce employed in the sector – 70% of these jobs being outside of Belfast. This industry continues to strive and meet the challenges of being more sustainable, inclusive and innovative post-pandemic and that is to be commended.
“I was delighted to be in East Antrim today to see how the funding provided by Tourism NI is bolstering the recovery of the tourism industry. This funding is being used by local tourism and hotel providers to get their gates much-needed additional business and reduce the risk of job losses in the sector The additional £6.5m I recently allocated to Tourism NI is essential as tourism providers continue to mitigate the effects of pandemic drive and the new challenges of rising energy, product and labor costs.”
The Minister continued: “Tourism is a key part of our drive to develop Northern Ireland as one of the small, elite economies in the world. The establishment of an improved tourism offer will be essential to promote the reputation and attractiveness of Northern Ireland on a global scale.
“I am committed to producing a regenerative tourism strategy for Northern Ireland with a global focus to 2030, which sets out the essential principles, vision and key objectives needed to drive growth in this important sector. The strategy is important to the 10X economic vision, enabling tourism to fulfill its important role in the innovation and transformation agenda of our local economy.
Explaining how the £6.5million will support the sector, Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen said: “This additional funding will be crucial in helping the tourism industry cope with a range of existing challenges and emerging. A significant portion of the funding will go towards improving our marketing activities with the aim of generating an additional £20 million of revenue from the domestic market and an additional £56 million of revenue from the ROI market . We will also invest in greater branding and presence at airports.
“Through our Kickstart program, 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 and to support key initiatives such as the One Young World Summit next year, our events program and product development. . »