NEXT June’s summit of world leaders, to be held in the five-star Lough Erne Resort, has been welcomed by its developer, Jim Treacy at a cost of some £30m.
The Resort, now in administration, is currently on sale at a guide price of £10m.
Speaking to the Herald yesterday, he did not rule out a return to the helm, commenting: “The process will roll on and if it’s to be, it will be.”
As for the visit of world leaders, he remarked: “It was always going to attract something like that. The place was developed as a golf course development, with a golf course that is unique anywhere in the world.
“Today, it’s in its infancy, and it’s only when people come from places like Canada, America and Europe that they can marvel at the great site it is and they realise what a great site it is and what a great location it is.
“I will tell you One thing: the G8 summit would not have come to Fermanagh had it not been for the Lough Erne Resort.”
Joe Kelly of the Enniskillen Business Partnership described the siting of the G8 summit as, ‘a fantastic opportunity’ for Fermanagh, Enniskillen and Northern Ireland in general.
“It’s a great opportunity for us from a marketing stand-point to get our area out on to a world stage. The Lough Erne Resort is a fantastic facility and, hopefully, this will be the beginning to attracting tourists of this calibre for the next 20-25 years.
“We have a great opportunity here to make this G8 Summit really pay. There will be a knock-on effect, which should be tremendous for our tourist product. It’s just another feather in our tourism cap.”
It was a view echoed by Rodney Watson, the chairman of the Lakelands Hotel group of 12 member hotels, five of which are four star.
“We feel we are well able to look after the needs of the various people who will be coming and, for me, the most influential thing is the fantastic film/video footage of these world leaders on the golf course and going out on the lake.”
Aside from an increased tourist trade, it is certain that the visit by the G8 leaders and their vast entourage will necessitate a significant improvement in communications in Fermanagh, both in Broadband and roads infrastructure.
Ironically, the summit has been announced at a time when the Lough Erne Resort, the hotel, golf course and holiday homes, are in administration and awaiting a buyer.
In September last, CBRE Hotels, who were appointed by the administrator as the selling agents, put a guide price tag of £10m on it.
Fermanagh UUP Assembly member, Tom Elliott said it was ‘unfortunate that Mr Treacy is not there now’.
“When you are up at the Lough Erne, as I have myself, it is a credit to the people who put it there.
“They had the vision for developing it many years ago and they put it in place and, as I say, it’s unfortunate they are not there now as part of the owners to reap the benefits of it.”