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Making the Most of Northern Ireland’s Tourist Potential (PDF )

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Publish Date: 12 February 2015

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The Democratic Unionist Party’s priorities for Northern Ireland’s tourism industry.

Tourism is a key economic driver in Northern Ireland. It accounts for up to 60,000 jobs and contributes £860m in Gross Value Added to the economy annually. However, tourism accounts for only 4.99 of the GDP in Northern Ireland, almost half of the UK average of 9% despite the huge tourist potential that Northern Ireland has to offer.

The DUP believes a number of steps need to be taken in order for the tourism sector to become a stronger, more sustainable driver of economic growth in Northern Ireland. We believe that the sector can grow to £1bn in tourism spend and 4.5 million visitors by 2020.

  • Support for the expansion of Heathrow, provided that current slots between Belfast and Heathrow can be maintained or increased.
  • Continued support for DETI to work with Belfast International Airport to attract new long-haul flights to Northern Ireland.
  • A call for the Government at Westminster to scrap Air Passenger Duty.
  • Setting up an Air Route Development Fund for key strategic routes in Europe to help develop new routes between Northern Ireland and the European regions.
  • Support for the examination of alternative finance to the hotel sector where banks are not providing access for developments.
  • Call for a VAT reduction for the hospitality sector.
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Making the Most of Northern Ireland’s Tourist Potential
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