Dallat: Cross border tourism cannot fall foul of Brexit
“In the most difficult of economic conditions, the tourism industry across this island has managed to survive and thrive. That’s a testament to the quality and depth of the tourism product we have to offer. From the island’s wonderful natural and built heritage to our first class hotels, bars and restaurants, Ireland is a must see destination for travellers across the world.
“Critical to the success of our tourism pitch, however, is the ease with which people can travel across the island from Rebel Cork to the Causeway Coast. To tourists keen to experience Ireland, we are one destination. Any moves to make traversing this beautiful island more difficult as a result of Brexit would undoubtedly have a knock on effect on our tourism product.
“I raised this issue with Tourism NI this morning. Customs posts, passport checks and further administrative burden at the border will only deter visitors from coming north.
“The SDLP has been campaigning for a long time for incentives to boost the local industry but much of that work – on VAT on hospitality products, for example – will be totally negated if we erect barriers to all island tourism.
“This is a matter I will be exploring with the tourism authorities across this island. But it’s clear that the border must be open for tourists. The easiest way to do that, of course, is for the North to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, guaranteeing free movement across the island.”