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Are Sperrins being short changed in terms of tourism investment? - McGill

7 December, 2007

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Claire McGill is pressing the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) funding to projects in the Sperrins over the last five years because the local community across the region believe they are being short changed in terms of tourism investment in comparison to the NITBs selected flag ship projects.

A response is due from the Minister Nigel Dodds next Tuesday. Speaking ahead of the awaited response the local MLA said:

"I have asked DETI Minister Nigel Dodds to provide a breakdown of Tourist Board funding, in the last five years, to projects in the Sperrins, which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is the primary tourist asset within Strabane, Omagh, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Limivady District Council Areas.

"I have also asked the DETI minister to provide a breakdown of NITB funding, in the last five years, to its designated 'Signature Projects' namely: Causeway, Titanic, Walled City, St Patrick and Mournes.

"I believe that the answers to these questions will highlight that the Sperrins are not getting a fair deal when in comes to NITB funding.

"It is essential we get answers to these questions as there is a strong feeling among the communities of the Sperrins that they are virtually ignored when it comes to tourism investment by the NITB and other bodies charged with promoting tourism.

"This is despite the fact that the Sperrins is an area of extremely high socio-economic deprivation and that in terms of its tourist potential could rival, if not surpass, some if not all of NITBs signature projects." ENDS

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