Lyons announces £11.5 million funding package for tourism in Northern Ireland

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Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced an additional £11.5 million funding package to support the further recovery of the tourism industry across Northern Ireland.

The funding package 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 all of which have begun to have an adverse impact on the industry.

The Minister 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 1 in 10 of the working population with 70% of those jobs being outside of Belfast.

“This package of support will drive much needed additional business through the doors of tourism and hospitality providers outside of the summer season and reduce the risk of job losses in the sector. “The tourism industry employs people from all sections of society, providing a range of diverse employment opportunities for young people, many of whom have not had the benefit of a university education, and those seeking to return to work. It is vital therefore that we do all that we can to help the industry to weather the cost of living crisis.”

The wide-ranging package of support will include an extension to the Covid Kick-Start Programme to assist tourism businesses to manage their cost base and boost their productivity and competitiveness.

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.

Tourism NI’s Partnership Marketing Fund will be increased to allow further support to be made available to tourism businesses to undertake their own sales and marketing activity to obtain additional bookings from these markets between now and the end of March.

The Minister also announced that £300k will be provided to Visit Belfast to help secure lucrative corporate and conference business which will bring much needed additional income to the accommodation and hospitality sectors not just in Belfast but across Northern Ireland.