Trade bodies lobby Northern Ireland ministers in support of outbound travel

Trade associations have collaborated to lobby ministers in Northern Ireland on the importance of outbound travel and tourism to the local economy.

Abta, the Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents (Anita) and the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (Nita) met ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive Office.

The discussions with Aisling Reilly (Sinn Fein) and Pam Cameron (DUP) also covered workforce and skills issues, UK-EU relations, and how the industry can work with the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure the sector prospers.

The meeting was able to take place despite the general election campaign, as ‘purdah’ rules do not apply to the Northern Ireland Executive during elections to Westminster.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “We were pleased to secure this meeting on behalf of our members, and it was a useful opportunity to discuss the powerful role that outbound travel plays in the economy of Northern Ireland, as well as the close links we share with the wider tourism sector. 

“In particular, we stressed the need for clearer lines of ministerial responsibility for outbound travel.

“We’ll continue to work with ministers, MLAs [Members of the Legislative Assembly] across all parties and officials, to ensure the views of the industry in Northern Ireland are heard and that we can work together to maximise the potential of the sector.”

Anita chair Damian Murphy said: “The experience of the sector during the pandemic demonstrated the need for better understanding of travel’s importance in the Executive, which is why Anita was established.

“Working with Abta and industry partners we’ve been able to be secure this meeting with ministers, and it’s important we now build on that by maintaining regular engagement with politicians and officials locally – not only from Abta and Anita, but also by individual businesses engaging with their local politicians.”

Judith Owens, chair of Nita, added: “Nita was established to promote the value of all tourism to the economy of Northern Ireland, and to provide a much-needed united voice. 

“I was pleased to be able to support the points around the value of outbound travel today, as well as to discuss vitally important issues for all tourism businesses, including those operating domestically and inbound too.”

Go to Source...