SF ‘talks down NI’, says DUP man

In response to the statement by Oliver McMullan in last week’s Larne Times, it is remarkable that Sinn Fein representatives continue to talk down Northern Ireland, and in particular, talk down our tourism sector.

Mr McMullan needs to look at the recently published figures that show growth in both GB and Republic of Ireland markets, and encouraging growth in the number of overseas visitors. Of particular note is the growth in business tourism with numbers up by 20 per cent overall.

The figures released last month actually indicate that the number of overnight trips to Northern Ireland by all visitors for the period Jan – December 2013 has increased to 4.1 million when compared to the previous year, and the number of GB, RoI and overseas visitors has increased by some 6 per cent.

Mr McMullan also sells Northern Ireland short when it comes to marketing. His preference for ‘all-Ireland’ promotion is already undertaken by Tourism Ireland in overseas markets, but the best way in which we can promote local facilities and attractions is by giving Northern Ireland stand out.

We want tourists to come to Northern Ireland, not as a day trip from Dublin but to stay and visit attractions from the North Coast down to the Fermanagh Lakes.

It’s a shame that Oliver McMullan’s political leanings blind him to the fact that ‘all-Ireland’ marketing does a disservice to Northern Ireland and does a disservice to the Glens.”