Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew, responding to the latest tourism figures showing a huge drop in visitors from the South said:
“The ongoing controversies over flags and marches cannot fail to have a negative impact on the figures. However, I believe that the failure of Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster to embrace the potential of an all-Ireland marketing strategy is a contributing factor.
"The combination of the minister’s failure and her party’s negative role on the flag and marches controversy Is frustrating all attempts to exploit the massive potential of the tourist industry.
"It is time the Minister and the Tourist Board removed the blinkers and recognised that tourists looking at potential destinations to visit regard Ireland as a single destiny and not two separate places.
"Attractions like the Lakes of Fermanagh, Derry Walls, Ring of Kerry, the Giants Causeway, the Marble Arch Caves, the Wicklow Hills and Cliffs of Moher should be packaged as a single unit.
“It is vital that our tourism promotion bodies embrace this reality and promote the island and all its attractions as a whole.”