Economy Minister Gordon Lyons announced additional funding of £11.5 million to support the continued recovery of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland.
The funding program will help the tourism industry address not only the ripple effects of the pandemic, but also the new challenges of soaring energy bills, rising food and labor costs. work, all of which began to have a negative impact on the industry.
The minister said: “I am delighted to announce this important funding plan to support the tourism industry in the face of the crisis it is currently facing.
“Industry remains one of the largest employers in the local economy, employing almost 1 in 10 of the working population, with 70% of these jobs outside of Belfast.
“This package of support measures will drive much-needed additional businesses through the doors of tourism and hotel providers outside of the summer season and reduce the risk of job losses in the sector.
“The tourism industry employs people from all walks of life, providing a range of diverse employment opportunities for young people, many of whom have not had a college education, and those looking to return to the work. It is therefore vital that we do all we can to help the industry weather the cost of living crisis.
The extensive support package will include an extension of the Covid Kick-Start program to help tourism businesses manage their cost base and boost their productivity and competitiveness.
The funding will enable Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland to respond to the industry’s call for additional marketing and promotional activities over the autumn, Christmas and spring, both domestically and in markets near the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Western Europe.
The Tourism NI Partnership Marketing Fund will be increased to allow tourism businesses additional support to undertake their own sales and marketing activities to secure additional bookings in these markets by the end of March.
Welcoming the additional funding, Tourism NI Managing Director John McGrillen said, “This substantial funding program comes at this very critical time for our industry.
“After surviving the Covid pandemic, the resilience of our tourism and hospitality businesses is being tested like never before. The next six months are going to be very challenging and this funding will enable us and our partners to attract additional business both in the domestic market and in the Republic of Ireland market at a time when it is most needed.
“I am delighted that we can also continue to support tourism businesses by expanding our business development and start-up programs and continue to provide marketing support to accommodation providers and tourist attractions throughout the fall. and spring.”
Siobhan McManamy, Acting Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, added: “Today’s announcement is good news for the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. This additional funding will allow Tourism Ireland to “do its best” for 2023 and roll out a very strong promotions program for Northern Ireland in Britain and mainland Europe early next year. Tourism Ireland will do its utmost to generate as much business as possible in Northern Ireland in 2023 and beyond.
The Minister also announced that £300,000 will be provided to Visit Belfast to help secure lucrative business and conference activities, bringing much needed additional income to the accommodation and hospitality sectors, not just in Belfast , but throughout Northern Ireland.
“As I have said before, the importance of business events to our tourism economy cannot be underestimated and we need to ensure that we are in the best possible position to compete for a greater share of this profitable sector in the future. This funding will allow us to take further steps to achieve this goal.
Notes to editors:
1. Picture caption: Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced £11.5million of additional funding to support the continued recovery of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The Minister is pictured with David Roberts Tourism NI, Director of Strategic Development, and Helen McGorman, Tourism Ireland, Head of Stakeholder Engagement (Northern Ireland).
2. Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland will also work closely together to secure additional business from international tour operators for the 2023 and 2024 tourist seasons.
3. The funding package will also be used to help address the well-documented ongoing recruitment challenges in the tourism and hospitality sectors by promoting the wide range of employment opportunities available, particularly for young and those who need flexibility in their working arrangements. This campaign will build on the successful ‘Count Me In’ campaign which ran earlier and saw an increase in the use of full-time and part-time employment opportunities available in the sector.
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