Sinn Féin Tourism Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has said thatprovisional figures released by DETI showing a drop of 5% in overseas visitornumbers and a 16% drop in expenditure by tourists is a clear indication thatthe 'Our Time Our Place' campaign, which has a fund of £4.7 million, is notdelivering.
The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA, who is the Deputy Chair ofthe Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committees said:
“The provisionalresults from the first half of this year indicate a significant drop of 5% inthe number of overseas visitors coming to the north of Ireland compared withthe 2011 figures.
“Alongside this,there has also been a more substantial fall of 16% in the level of expenditureby overseas visitors for the first six months of 2012 compared with the sameperiod of 2011.
“This is a clearindicator that despite the considerable sum of £4.7 million being set asidesolely to market the Our Time, Our Place campaign, it is not delivering aswell as it should be.
“While there are veryclearly global economic factors in the mix, there needs to be a sea change inhow tourism promotion takes place.
“The continuingpolicy of marketing the north of Ireland as a complete separate entity to therest of the island is not working and is proving to be a major obstacle foreconomic growth within tourism.
"Having three bodies promoting tourism is not working.We need to remove the duplication that exists and move to a system where asingle body is charged with the promotion of tourism on an all-island basis.
“The development ofthe Titanic Building and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre is clearly havinga positive impact in some quarters, but it is not having the impact that wasanticipated on headline visitor numbers or expenditure so we need to ensure thatother aspects of our tourism product are promoted for all to see.”