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Sinn Féin welcomes Tourism Masterplan for the Causeway Coast and Glens

24 February, 2004

Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan, who has written to the direct rule Minister asking for a meeting to discuss the Masterplan and other related Tourism matters, has welcomed the publication of the Causeway Coast and Glens plan.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Tourism is extremely important for the economic regeneration and prosperity of this region. In the Giant‚s Causeway we have the only World Heritage site on this island, and yet, to date the full potential for tourism has failed to be realised.

"There is a lot in this plan that is positive and must be welcomed. But it should not be allowed to become a paper exercise like many other consultation exercises.

"There must be commitments to put in place the financial resources required to take this project forward and to develop the infrastructure required to unleash the tourist potential of this area. If this is forthcoming and those within tourism sector work positively together then this can be a beginning to a brighter future for this region. It will benefit the whole of the North Antrim community."

The local MLA who is Sinn Féin‚s spokesperson on Tourism also went on to claim that further All Ireland integration is necessary to build on the momentum of increased visitors to the North.

"Recent figures show a rise in visitors to the North. The figures, however still fall short of what is achievable. Despite the formation of Tourism Ireland as a result of the Good Friday Agreement, All Ireland tourism remains underdeveloped. There needs to be greater integration between Bord Fáilte and the NITB.

"No sector has the potential to develop and enhance the economy on an All Ireland basis more than tourism. Unionist opposition to developing the potential of tourism, can only be dismissed as short sighted and politically driven." ENDS

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