Mon 11th April
Mr Durkan was speaking after the launch of the SDLP’s economic document, Creating Jobs Building Prosperity, on Monday.
He said: “It is anticipated ten thousand additional jobs could be created in the tourism sector with hugely increased visitor numbers.
“The signature projects and themes around branding have the capacity to take the industry forward but these initiatives need to be properly resourced if the Northern Ireland Tourist Board is to reach its ambitious target to double tourism revenues here by 2020.
“In Derry, we have the City of Culture, the 400th anniversary of the walled city, the Clipper Yacht Race and the possibility to bring the all-Ireland Fleadh Ceoil to the city, as well as the world police and fire games. Add to these, Derry’s proximity to the border make us ideally placed to become a tourism centre and a driver to help the entire north-west against the recession.
“If we throw into this mix the potential of the City of Culture bringing extra events, the end results could be massive. These events are vital to attracting people here and will play a key role in realizing growth within the tourism industry.
“However, the Executive must do more to create the environment to make this happen through, for example, easing some planning restrictions or rate rebate considerations for new emerging tourism businesses.
“We can encourage tourism too through major Irish heritage homecoming events and learn from Scotland’s tourism initiative. We also need to leverage our significant golfing heritage more aggressively.
“Beginning an ambitious process of doubling our tourism revenue as the global economy improves can help create 2,200 jobs in the short term. Derry can be the driving force to realizing that.”
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