AN Enniskillen motel owner has said the £11.5 million funding package for tourism in the North will help business get through “a difficult time”.
Terry McCartney, owner of the Belmore Court Motel and a board member of Tourism NI, stated that the £11.5million package announced by Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, is a welcome boost for the sector.
The funding will assist the tourism industry in dealing with not only the knock-on effects of the pandemic but also the new challenges of soaring energy bills, rising food and labour costs. It is also designed to reduce the risk of job losses.
Mr McCartney said: “This funding is being well-received generally – especially in terms of the short-term marketing to help us through what’s going to probably be a difficult time between now and Easter.
“Anything is welcome to ensure that tourism gets through the winter.
“With regards to short-term marketing, we’ve found that since Covid, people have been making bookings one to three weeks out from their planned stay.
“This is why that marketing package is so important to us so we can put it in front of people who are in Dublin or Tipperary and are able to take a little break to relax and de-stress – especially amongst the wonders of Fermanagh.
Mr McCartney said that he hopes this will lead to further funding being announced to help the tourism sector get back to the business levels they were at pre-Covid.
He added: “The problem for us is ‘the unknown’. There is a lot of negative talk about the economy and what’s going to happen.
“Hopefully we’ll get some sort of announcement from the new Prime Minister (Liz Truss) that will ease the burden.
“I understand that the discretionary spend may not be there for the autumn and winter. But if she can do something to help that and with Gordon Lyons and his department helping to promote short-breaks in this part of the world, then that’s going to help the whole of Fermanagh.
“I would be hopeful that further funding will be coming and that this is more of a short-term gap that’s being filled to help us re-position ourselves given the effects of Covid.
“I feel that this is to help us get back to pre-Covid levels. Hopefully they’ll be more funding announcements once we get more strategic direction from The Executive.”
The funding will allow Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland to respond to the industry’s call for additional marketing and promotional activity over the autumn, Christmas and spring both domestically and in close to home markets in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Western Europe.
Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, said: “I am delighted to announce this significant funding package to support the tourism industry in the face of the crisis that it is presently facing.
“The industry remains one of the largest employers in the local economy employing almost one in 10 of the working population with 70 per cent of those jobs being outside of Belfast.”
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