Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched the next phase of her Tourism Recovery Action Plan.
The Tourism Recovery Action Plan, phase two, will bring forward further proposed actions to build on the support which the Northern Ireland Executive had provided to date.
Speaking after a meeting with the Tourism Recovery Steering Group in Belfast, the Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “In April 2020 I established a Tourism Recovery Steering Group, which I chair, to assist in responding to the immediate, and devastating, impact of COVID-19 on the tourism and hospitality industry.
“My primary objective throughout the pandemic has been to protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery.
“Delivering on this phase of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan will enable us to provide tailored support for our tourism and hospitality industry. Key themes in phase two include creating consumer confidence, generating consumer demand and increasing the competitiveness of the region.
“Successful delivery of the Plan will require Government and industry to continue to work together in partnership. All parts of the tourism and hospitality sectors have a role to play in recovery. Through partnership working, we can ensure the actions within phase two of the plan deliver a solid foundation for recovery and a return to the record breaking tourism figures of 2019.”
John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI who chaired the Working Group added: “Phase two of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan sets out the key challenges facing our tourism industry as it recovers from the pandemic and the actions required to support the tourism industry in the most targeted and effective way. Every sector of the industry provided extensive input to the formulation of this plan and I am grateful to everyone on the Working Group for their time and participation We look forward to working in collaboration with industry and Government partners to ensure that tourism makes an even greater contribution to the local economy and to local communities right across Northern Ireland in the future.”
Phase Two of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “I welcome the launch of phase two of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our industry, but we now look to the future with optimism. As overseas travel begins to restart, it is clear that keeping Northern Ireland front and centre in consumers’ minds will be critical. As soon as the time is right, Tourism Ireland will be ready to act, with a major new campaign in our key overseas markets. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with our colleagues in Tourism NI, the tourism industry and all of our stakeholders, to support the recovery.”
Joanne Stuart, CEO NI Tourism Alliance, said: “We welcome the publication of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan phase two, and are pleased to see the joined up approach across the government departments to deliver the Plan. Tourism & Travel have proven their resilience and have invested millions of pounds in creating Covid-safe environments for staff and visitors. In the week that has seen the reopening of the majority of the tourism industry a commitment to ongoing investment and support is crucial to enable the industry to build back to financial viability.
“Creating the conditions to enable us to welcome visitors from home and overseas and attract talent into the industry are key to enable the industry to rebuild from the huge impacts of the pandemic. We will continue to engage with our members and Government to ensure that the actions within the plan are delivered on the ground.”
Janice Gault, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Hotels Federation added: “The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation welcomes the publication of the Tourism Recovery Action Plan – phase two and looks forward to working in collaboration to ensure the actions are completed in a timely manner. This will help tourism infrastructure survive and aid the restoration of the industry to its previous levels.
“There has been a recognition within Government of the importance of the sector and its growing role within the economy. Skills are a critical element for the entire industry and it is imperative that they are addressed as a matter of urgency. Support will be required not only in the short term but well into the future.
Having invested over £700m over the last decade, hotels are keen to see the potential of the industry realised. Over the last year, tourism businesses have displayed great resilience and have pivoted as the pandemic has evolved. Hotels look forward to playing a central role in the rebuilding and growth of the Tourism industry in the future.”
A Step Back in Time at Crumlin Road Gaol
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has visited the five-star tourist attraction at Crumlin Road Gaol Visitor Attraction and Conference Centre which reopened to visitors last month.
The Minister was given a tour of the historic Gaol, Northern Ireland’s only remaining Victorian era prison, by Managing Director Phelim Devlin.
Speaking afterwards the Minister said: “I am delighted to be here to experience at first-hand the fascinating insight into more than 150 years of history and see it brought to life with the latest technology, amazing figures, furnished cells, films, sound effects and exhibitions. I also had the opportunity to hear of future plans to enhance the visitor experience further.
“Crumlin Road Gaol has experienced a protracted period of closure due to Covid pandemic restrictions but it is pleasing and reassuring to see the measures which have been put in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable return for visitors.
“I would encourage everyone to visit the Gaol for a tour of this historic building and with all the new exhibits now on offer I can highly recommend a return visit to those of you who, like me, have visited in the past. The experience is both captivating and educational with something for all ages to enjoy.”
Managing Director of the Gaol, Phelim Devlin commented: “We were delighted to have the Minister visit the facility. During lockdown we took the opportunity to improve the historic tour and to introduce a more hands on visitor experience. We are thrilled to have been able to re-open our doors again and welcome visitors to the site.”
The Walled City of Derry Makes Shortlist for Leading Emerging Tourism Destination
Derry~Londonderry has made the shortlist for Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination 2021 at The World Travel Awards; a prestigious global tourism awards programme nicknamed the Oscar’s of Travel. The Walled City of Derry is one of eight finalists in with a chance of scooping the big prize and is competing alongside other emerging city destinations across Europe.
Renowned as one of the finest examples of a Walled City in Europe and the primary destination for cultural and heritage experiences on the island, Derry is a worthy nominee and needs your votes to help scoop the top spot.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, commented: “We are delighted to be nominated for this award. We know our historic and dynamic city is unique and deserves to be recognised on a worldwide stage. Tourism is a key economic driver for the region, and we are thrilled it has been recognised as a rising destination in Europe. It is a major boost for the local tourism industry and provides great publicity for the city region and Northern Ireland.”
Odhran Dunne, Chief Executive of Visit Derry continued: “We are delighted Derry has been nominated for Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination. Being a finalist in this prestigious award, puts us on a world stage as we begin to emerge from the covid crises and rebuild tourism. It strengthens our international appeal and rewards the commitment of all players in our local industry to position the city region as a must-visit destination. We have all the ingredients of a standout destination, centred on our historic City Walls, heritage, renowned lively cultural and events scene and strategic geographic location to be nominated for the award is fantastic. We look forward to the global industry and travel consumers recognising our emerging potential and giving us their vote!”
International voting is now open, and the winner will be the finalist who gains the most votes. To vote for Derry as Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination, visit www.visitderry.com/vote. Voting closes on 14th July 2021.