McLaughlin calls for Tourist Monitoring system for Derry
Sinn Féin Tourism Spokesperson, Maeve McLaughlin MLA has called for the establishment of a Tourist Monitoring System similar to that in operation in Belfast to give a realistic assessment of the numbers of tourists visiting Derry and the North West.
Maeve McLaughlin said:
"Belfast has a very comprehensive system of monitoring tourist numbers visiting that City and an excellent estimation of tourism spend. Unfortunately Derry doesn't seem to have any similar system of compiling this information regarding visitor numbers and spending estimations for the North West.
"If we don't have this basic information on numbers visiting, overnight stays, day trippers and most popular attractions I can't see how we can properly plan marketing strategies or decide how to signpost the attractions that are most appealing to tourists or lesser visited sites that we wish to promote.
"I would encourage Derry City Council and the Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau to examine the Belfast model and adapt it to the Derry situation. Belfast last year posted £401 million tourist spend supporting approximately 9,000 full time equivalent jobs. Can we produce similar figures on which to base future marketing?
"Rather than depending on enquiries to the DVCB and anecdotal evidence it is time to instigate an accurate system of monitoring visitor numbers, length of stay, where they stay and what attracted them to the region in the first place.
"A start would be placing questionaires in hotels; guest houses; B&B’s; youth hostels; self catering accommodation etc to gather information such as length of visit, State or Country of origin, purpose of visit, attractions visited and comments on all facets of visit including quality of accommodation, entertainment, visitor facilities etc. The information gathered would provide us with the foundation on which to build future Marketing Strategies and where best to direct investment in visitor facilities and attractions.
"The preparations for City of Culture 2013 gives us the perfect vehicle with which to drive such a programme?"