by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Louise Haigh MP, joined local tourism industry leaders at the Titanic Hotel this afternoon for a roundtable discussion on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the tourism economy as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The discussion also included an overview of the Northern Ireland screen industry and support required from Government to assist the recovery and growth of tourism which has been badly hit by the current crisis.

Leading the group was the Chief Executive of Tourism NI, John McGrillen who was joined by industry representatives including Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster, Janice Gault, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, Joanne Stuart, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance and Richard Williams, Northern Ireland Screen.

Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said;

“It has been a pleasure to meet Louise Haigh MP on her first official trip as Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland. I am grateful that she has taken the time to speak to us and hear the concerns of the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland”.

“We are facing very uncertain times for our industry and have met these challenges with a range of support initiatives through the Tourism Recovery Taskforce led by Minister Dodds. Thanks to these collective efforts, along with UK Government interventions, the staycation market has rallied across the summer months and provided hope for many businesses in Northern Ireland”.

“The next six months will bring new, and perhaps greater challenges, as we face into the longer term impact on our industry. I am confident, however, that with ongoing support we can come through this crisis and return to being the success story of the Northern Ireland economy that has been the case for much of the past decade”.

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Louise Haigh MP said;

“The tourism industry is one of Northern Ireland’s great success stories, with numbers rocketing in recent years. But the crisis has hit hard here and additional support in desperately needed. Labour have been calling for urgent flexible support, including an extension to the furlough scheme, to protect jobs. It cannot be right that the furlough scheme simply ends in October when many businesses are still not back up and running and will still need help. The tourism industry cannot afford to wait; jobs are being lost now and support is needed now to save livelihoods.“

Earlier in the day the Shadow Secretary of State enjoyed a tourism themed visit to Derry~Londonderry that included a tour of the historic walls and a meeting with City of Derry Lord Mayor, Cllr Brian Tierney. She also visited landmarks including the Guildhall, the Peace Bridge and the Derry Girls mural.

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Louise Haigh with Tourism NI CEO John McGrillen


Dankse MPU

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