Where’s our hotel bonanza? - asks Foyle MLA Martina Anderson
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA has called for more investment in Derry's tourism industry after it was revealed that just £18,000 in public money was spent on hotel development in the city last year - a fraction of the amount spent in other areas of the North.
Ms. Anderson said:
"The Department of Trade and Investment has confirmed that less than £18,000 of public money was spent on hotel development in Derry last year. This compares with £3.5 million in Fermanagh /South Tyrone and over £1.7 million in North Antrim.
"I believe that if Derry is to reach its full potential then there must be adequate public investment in areas such as tourism and the hotel and catering industry.
"This should be done on a par with other areas of the North and I will be calling on the DETI Minister Nigel Dodds to ensure there is a level playing field when it comes to this kind of investment.
"As part of the 'Stand Up For Derry' campaign, we are calling for additional support for the tourism industry as we believe this can help reinvigorate the local economy.
"And the potential is there for that to happen because the average annual growth in hotel room sales across the North between 2003 and 2007 was 6.9 percent. If that trend continues over the next five years, we would be facing a demand for an additional 3,300 hotel rooms by 2013.
"That equates to a need for approximately 66 new hotels. Indeed, the Tourist Board is already aware of around 50 potential hotel projects across the North. That is extremely positive news and Derry should be marketed and supported now to ensure that the city gets its fair share of the economic dividends which those developments will create.
"What we don't want to see is all those hotels being built in the Greater Belfast area because Derry has been ignored and neglected for far too long. We intend to ensure that those days are gone forever." ENDS