Derry’s tourism sector needs to be marketed as the city that links Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way with the north’s Causeway Coast, potentially creating enormous benefits for businesses and employment, the SDLP’s Sinead McLaughlin has told the Northern Ireland Assembly.
She made the comments as she was asking Executive Office minister Declan Kearney to give a commitment that Tourism Ireland – a cross-border agency – will be told by the North South Ministerial Council to make this a priority and be given the strong backing of the Executive Office in this.
Sinead McLaughlin said:
“Derry is a great city that has had difficulty in attracting tourists in the numbers it deserves as a place of beauty, history and enormous friendliness. It sits in one of the most gorgeous locations in Ireland, on the Foyle and below the hills of Donegal.
“The Republic’s draft Programme for Government very appropriately commits the potential new administration in the south to promoting the linkage of the very successful Wild Atlantic Way with the north’s wonderful Causeway Coast. This is excellent news for Derry as our city is the gateway connecting these two great routes.
“I asked Executive Office minister Declan Kearney to commit support for this initiative, which I am pleased to say he did. Linkage of the two coastal journeys would be an example of how partnership between the two governments can improve outcomes that benefit everyone. Promoting these two road trips on an all-island basis makes obvious sense and should have been done years ago. So let’s get on with it at a time when we need to promote ‘staycations’ in Ireland to rescue our tourism sector.”