SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has called on the UK Government to scrap the proposed Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system .
She was speaking after the government confirmed residents in the South who are European Nationals will be exempt from the system.
Ms Hanna said that while the move was welcome, the current proposals would still be disastrous for tourism in Northern Ireland and should be dropped or at least further modified.
South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said:
“From the moment that these proposals were first unveiled the SDLP has been making the case to the UK Government about how unworkable they would be for people living on this island and the potentially disastrous impact it would have on the economy in Northern Ireland.
“I am glad that some sense has finally prevailed and people living on this island will not be forced to apply for an electronic pass to cross the border for work, to attend important appointments or simply to visit friends and family. That this was proposed in the first place shows lack of understanding of life on this island, particularly in border areas.
“Despite this progress, these proposals have the potential to severely undermine our tourism industry. Some 70% of our international tourists fly into Dublin and the reality is that if they are forced to apply for ETA many will simply decide it’s not worth the hassle and exclude the North from their trip, removing serious money from our economy and leaving many tourism dependent businesses at risk.
“The government needs to listen to what the tourism sector is saying. The SDLP will keep working with tourism representatives and advocating on their behalf at Westminster until we secure this much needed change. Our burgeoning tourism industry cannot be collateral damage due to this policy.