NITA have continued to engage with politicians on the concerns of industry regarding the Nationalities and Borders Bill which has been given Royal Assent and work is starting on the secondary legislation. It is at this stage that the details of the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation will be developed and we have an opportunity to have an exemption for visitors travelling to NI via the RoI included.
Our plan is to engage across the Irish and UK Governments to articulate the challenges and impact that the introduction of an ETA for non-visa nationals will have on tourists travelling to NI via the RoI. For 20 years Tourism Ireland has been promoting NI overseas as part of the Island of Ireland and it is estimated over that time about 1bn Euros has been invested to create the Island of Ireland as a must-see tourism destination.
On 11th May NITA met with the major Irish political parties, to brief them on the challenges facing tourism and the impact not only for NI but for tourism across the Island. We had positive and supportive meetings with the following:
- Niall Ó Donnghaile Senator Sinn Fein
- Imelda Munster TD Sinn Fein
- Micheál Carrigy Senator Fine Gael
- Emer Currie Senator Fine Gael
- Cathal Crowe TD Fianna Fáil
- Vincent P. Martin Senator Green Party
The timing of our briefing was very opportune as that evening Sinn Fein proposed private members business: Motion regarding the Good Friday Agreement at the Seanad Éireann. This was based primarily on the UK Government Nationalities and Borders Bill and all parties who took part in the debate referred to the NITA briefing and in opening, SF used a lot of our briefing setting out the impact to tourism. The motion received unanimous agreement.
We have met with a number of MP’s and have other meetings organised.