THERE are many obstacles to be overcome in making Northern Ireland a must see destination for international visitors, Enterprise minister Sir Reg Empey said yesterday.
Speaking at the Newry and Mourne Tourism Conference in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry, the Minister said that the Provinces unspoiled landscape and world-renowned hospitality are evidence of a tourism product which, if given the right conditions, will flourish.
However, a collective focus is required if Northern Ireland tourism is to make maximum impact.
The minister added that tourism has the potential to bring economic benefits to both rural and urban areas.
In the Republic of Ireland, the tourism industry contributes 7 per cent to GDP, in Northern Ireland the tourism industry contributes only 2 per cent so there is much scope for improvement.
However, the consequences of September 11 continue to have an impact, he said.
The tourism sector in Northern Ireland has experienced many challenges and only by working together can we maximize our true potential.
He added: Government has been active in its support for the tourism industry through ensuring that structures are in place to achieve a focused and effective approach. …