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Travel & Tourism

Next Phase Tourism Recovery Action Plan Launched

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched the next phase of her Tourism Recovery Action Plan. Pictured with the Minister at the launch are (L to R) Janice Gault, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI who chaired the Working Group and Joanne Stuart, CEO NI Tourism Alliance.

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.”

Travel & Tourism

Grab The Balmoral Show App To Open New Experiences

Download the Balmoral Show App ahead of the 2021 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank.

The app is a handy pocket tool to help guide you on your visit around the Show featuring trade stands and key attractions. To stop you missing out on the action, it also features the Show timetable of events across the action packed four days.

Users will also be able to live stream all livestock and equine classes from the Cattle Rings, Sheep Shearing Fold, Horse Rings 1 & 2 as well as the Main Arena. 

Zara Hughes, RUAS encourages visitors to download the Balmoral Show App ahead of the 2021 Show.

The app is available for download from Monday 20th September on Apple Store and Google Play. Simply search for “Balmoral Show” and download!

The 152nd Balmoral Show takes place from Wednesday 22nd September to Saturday 25th September at Balmoral Park, Lisburn. Tickets are selling fast and must be purchased online in advance at www.balmoralshow.co.uk. Conditions of entry can be found online at www.balmoralshow.co.uk.

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Travel & Tourism

NI Food and Drink Pavilion Back at Balmoral Show with Delicious Flavours

Delicious and original food and drink from a range of local artisan companies from across the country will be showcased at this year’s Balmoral Show in the colourful Northern Ireland Food Pavilion organised by leading promotional body Food NI, and supported by the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme, and Tourism NI.

Visit Balmoral Park from 22nd – 25th September where there will be hundreds of innovative products on Show. The NI Food and Drink Pavilion will host the biggest celebration of the outstanding tastes and rich flavours from local companies, including many which have won top awards for originality and quality in prestigious national and international food challenges.

These high-profile food accolades include the UK Great Taste Awards, the Blas na hEireann Irish National Food Awards, the UK Food and Drink Quality Awards and the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards where the smaller food and drink producers have ‘punched above their weight’ in such challenges for many decades. A host of excellent local companies including Milgro, Glastry Farm Ice Cream, Erin Grove, Ballylisk of Armagh, Kennedy Bacon, Natural Umber, Ke Nako Biltong and Irish Black Butter will be sampling and selling their products.

An exciting new addition to the Pavilion this September is the NI Food and Drink Experience Kitchen, supported by Tourism NI. Situated right in the heart of the Food Pavilion, the Experience Kitchen will provide a platform to showcase dozens of talented producers and foodie experiences from across Northern Ireland. Visit www.nigoodfood.com to download the Experience Kitchen Timetable in the run up to the Show.

The Food NI Food Pavilion is one of the most popular attractions at the Balmoral Show and it provides opportunities for visitors to meet producers and learn how they hand craft the food and drink to ensure consistent quality and memorable flavours.

Virtually every sector in this vibrant industry, Northern Ireland’s largest single manufacturer and the only industry represented in every community, especially rural areas, will be featured in the pavilion. It’s an industry which generates over £5 billion annually to the local economy and contributes particularly to the wellbeing of rural communities.

Food and drink products from local companies are now exported to over 60 global markets such as the Republic of Ireland, other parts of the EU, as well as the US, Middle East and Asia.

Food NI’s Chief Executive Michele Shirlow, commented, “It’s marvellous to be setting up the Food Pavilion again for thousands of people to see and sample the best of local food and drink. It’s always been one of the most popular presentations at a show which draws visitors from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and further afield.

“Food writers and journalists we’ve worked with from outside Northern Ireland have always been impressed by the overall showcase and talented producers.

“We’ve certainly missed the show since it was paused over the last two years by the awful pandemic. During the Show, we have taken steps to ensure visitor safety by implementing systems which promote social distancing and hand sanitation throughout the pavilion. We have also involved increasing space between stands and reduced company numbers this year. Visitor and participating company safety is a priority for us. We would urge visitors to comply with Government guidance and to make yourself familiar with the mitigations implemented by the Balmoral Show to ensure the event is as safe as possible for all who attend.

“I am sure that our changes won’t impact the enjoyment of visitors to the pavilion. They’ll have an unprecedented opportunity to experience the very best of our outstanding and award- winning food and drink.”

The Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank, Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event will take place from Wednesday 22nd September to Saturday 25th September at Balmoral Park, Lisburn. Tickets are available to purchase online at www.balmoralshow.co.uk. Please note this year tickets are day specific only and must be purchased prior to the Show. Conditions of entry can also be found online.

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