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McLaughlin calls on Tourism Minister to confirm funds for Derry Marketing Plan

14 February, 2013 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA, Maeve McLaughlin has called on Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster to clarify a number of issues relating to marketing Derry City and the City of Culture.

Following the Assembly All Party meeting on Tourism in Derry on Wednesday where a number of issues were raised, Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on DETI Minister Arlene Foster MLA to confirm the allocation of £1.3m as part of Derry’s One Plan for marketing the Region, particularly during the City’s year of Culture festivities.

Maeve McLaughlin said:

“The proposal was submitted to DETI in Sept/ Oct last year - Derry has the product but needs the resources to market it.

“I welcome the Minister’s recent response that her Department has provided advice to the NI Tourist Board (NITB) on how alternative accommodation options, such as a host family scheme, might potentially be accommodated under the existing legislation governing the certification of tourism accommodation.

“Although the Minister pointed to the need for further information before a definitive position on the potential legislative implications can be reached it is encouraging that possibilities are being considered.

“I would like clarification from the Minister on where this proposal and the Marketing/advertising strategy now stands. Will there be an Exemption to the current Tourism legislation to allow for pop-up accommodation and a residents rent a room scheme? Will there be funding for the Marketing plan?

 “Representatives of the hospitality sector have, for some time now, been flagging up the shortage of accommodation available in the immediate vicinity of Derry for major events in 2013. This needs addressed urgently.

“Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is projecting an influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors to Derry for the event.

"When the Derry organisers met with the Cavan representatives who staged the event for the past two years, they were given a very clear insight into what Derry and the North West region can expect this summer. The Fleadh injected in the region of £40 million into the economy of Cavan - a staggering figure which with proper planning can be exceeded in Derry.

"The potential that events like the Fleadh have for job creation in the tourism and hospitality sectors is immense and would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. So we need the infrastructure and tourism facilities particularly in the city centre in place without delay. Businesses especially in the hospitably sector which is one of the biggest employers locally also need to be prepared well in advance of these events.  In Cavan last year 34% of revenue generated was on overnight accommodation. CRÍOCH

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