Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said the best way to increase tourism is to promote the entire island of Ireland.
Speaking after the release of new figures, which showed that overseas visitor numbers failed to grow for the second year in succession, the Foyle MLA said a new approach is needed.
“This is the second successive year we have failed to show any increase in overseas holidaymakers.
“A major reason for this failure is the futile attempts by the minister and tourist board to promote the North as if it were a stand-alone entity.
“It is deeply disappointing that the minister and NITB continue to ignore the most obvious source of overseas visitors – those entering the island of Ireland through southern ports and airports.
“All-Ireland promotion and marketing should be the focus of a fresh tourism strategy.
“The stubborn refusal to promote the North as an integral part of the island of Ireland is continuing to damage our potential for growth in the tourism economy.
All around the world people see Ireland as a single entity; it is time those charged with promoting and developing our tourism sector recognised that reality.
“Dressing up local visitor numbers as tourism growth doesn’t fool anyone. To boost the local economy we need to dramatically increase the numbers of overseas holidaymakers.” ENDS/CRÍOCH