Lyon announces £11.5m financing package for tourism

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Lyons has announced an additional £11.5 million funding package to support further recovery of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland.

The financing package will help the tourism industry deal with the collateral effects of the pandemic, in addition to the challenges of energy bills and skyrocketing labor and food costs.

The Minister said: “I am delighted to announce this important funding package to support the tourism industry in the face of the crisis it is currently facing. The industry remains one of the largest employers in the local economy, employing nearly 1 in 10 of the workforce, with 70% of those jobs being outside Belfast.

“This support package 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 sectors 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 looking to return to work. Therefore, it is vital that we do everything we can to help the industry get through the cost of living crisis.”

The support package will include an extension to the Covid Kick-Start program.

The funding will enable Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland to respond to industry demand for additional marketing and promotional activities during the Autumn, Christmas and Spring, both nationally and in local markets near ROI, UK and Western Europe. .

Tourism NI CE, John McGrillen, explained: “This funding package comes at such a critical time for our industry. Having survived the pandemic, the resilience of our tourism and hospitality businesses is being tested like never before. The next six months are going to be challenging and this package will allow us and our partners to attract additional business from both the domestic market and ROI at a time when it is needed most.

“I am pleased that we will also be able to continue to support tourism businesses by expanding our Kickstart and Business Development Programs and continue to provide marketing support to accommodation and visitor attraction providers throughout the fall and spring.”

Siobhan McManamy, Acting CE of Tourism Ireland, added: “This additional funding will allow Tourism Ireland to ‘be the best of it’ by 2023 and launch a really strong program of promotions for NI in the UK and mainland Europe early next year. Tourism Ireland will do everything we can to generate as much business as possible for NI in 2023 and beyond.”

The Minister also announced that £300k will be provided to Visit Belfast to help secure lucrative corporate and conference business that will generate much-needed additional income for the accommodation and hospitality sectors not only in Belfast but across NI.

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Lyons has announced an additional £11.5m funding package to support further recovery of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The Minister is pictured with David Roberts, NI Director of Strategic Development for Tourism, and Helen McGorman, Tourism Ireland, Director of Stakeholder Engagement (Northern Ireland)

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