The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) is meeting today, on World Tourism Day (27th September), to present its long-term strategy for Northern Ireland’s Tourism Industry.
Over 100 delegates representing hotels, attractions, tourism bodies and local tourism businesses will attend the meeting held at Titanic Belfast. The NITA strategy will outline the concerns and asks of the industry as it looks to sustain and grow Tourism through these economically challenging times.
Minister for Economy Gordon Lyons will address the conference on the back of his recent commitment to develop a new Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland. Other speakers include Bernard Donoghue OBE, CEO of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) and an expert panel made up of the Chairs of the Boards of Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, HATS and Visit Belfast.
Speaking before the event at Titanic Belfast, NITA CEO Dr Joanne Stuart OBE said. “As one of Northern Ireland’s leading export industries, tourism is a key economic driver; it provides significant city and regional job creation and the resulting social impact for our communities cannot be understated. It is vital that conditions are in place for this sector to reach its full potential. Our long-term strategy outlines our commitments, and what support and collaboration is required to achieve results.”
The demand for Northern Ireland as a short break and holiday destination is stronger than ever. We need to ensure that there is awareness of the actions that are required to maximise the current opportunity for market growth with sustained private and public sector investment.
The strategy will focus on four core themes: Competitiveness, Access and Connectivity, Skills, and Research and Data.
“We welcome the Minister’s commitment for a new Tourism Strategy, and we hope that the concerns of the industry are front and centre within this. We want to work with government and believe everyone will benefit from a coordinated approach. Tourism is a force for good, it is an economic driver with an incredibly wide geographical reach, it can be a huge benefit to mental health, and it encourages us to be proud of Northern Ireland.
We want to see Tourism thrive. We are proud of our world-class and sustainable tourism offering which is meeting the challenges of changing consumer behaviour in the aftermath of the pandemic. We are confident in its potential to grow but it must be given the right support.”
Judith Owens MBE, Chair of NITA and CEO of Titanic Belfast said, ‘Our tourism offering is unique, varied and exciting, but we need to ensure the conditions are in place to achieve long-term prosperity. In launching NITA’s strategy today, we have outlined the key themes and actions that need to be delivered for this vital part of the Northern Ireland economy. “
Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, said:
Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, said: “Tourism NI welcomes the launch of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance’s long term strategy today and we look forward to working in partnership on behalf of everyone in the tourism industry. In the immediate term, Tourism NI’s focus is to continue to support the tourism industry as it faces a series of existing and emerging challenges. We will be boosting our marketing efforts to increase visitor revenue from the Republic of Ireland and domestic markets and investing in more branding and gateway presence at airports. Through our Kickstart scheme we want to continue to drive competitiveness as the sector continues its recovery. We will also be continuing our roll out of a recruitment and skills campaign and support key initiatives such as events and further product development”.
Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Corporate Services, Policy and Northern Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland sees a bright future for overseas holiday visitation to Northern Ireland. We strongly support the long-term strategy of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance being launched today. We continue to work closely with Tourism NI, as well as with our Northern Ireland industry partners, to ensure that we maximise the benefit of overseas tourism for the Northern Ireland economy. As we look beyond recovery, it will be more important than ever to work together, to ensure we develop a sustainable offering that is attractive to future visitors and benefits communities across Northern Ireland.”