Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry has demonstrated its resilience during the pandemic, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said today.
With most participants taking part via video link, the Minister addressed the AGM of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) and commended the sector on its response to Covid-19.
Mrs Dodds said: “Huge economic impacts that might normally take months or years to unfold occurred within weeks as a result of lockdown and industry shutdowns.
“As Economy Minister, I have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on our tourism and hospitality industry in particular.
“But I have also seen how businesses in the sector have shown flexibility and resilience throughout this crisis. Hospitality businesses, accommodation providers and visitor attractions have taken a positive and proactive approach in putting in place measures to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading in their premises, and these steps have been crucial in helping reassure the public.
“I urge businesses across the hospitality and tourism industry, and their customers, to continue to remain vigilant and adhere to the guidelines as we work together to fight the virus.”
The Minister continued: “In April I set up a Tourism Recovery Steering Group and NITA has played a crucial role as we develop a path to recovery. The contributions and expertise of NITA and its members have been essential in developing a draft Tourism Recovery Action Plan, and I am grateful to them for their input.
“There is no doubt that this is an extremely challenging period for our tourism and hospitality industry, but I am confident we can all work together to progress the recovery, and I am optimistic for the future.”
Brenda Morgan, Chair of the NITA, said: “On behalf of our members we would like to thank the Minister for her continued support for tourism businesses across Northern Ireland, her recognition of the importance of tourism to the economy and her commitment to working with our industry to address the scale of the crisis we are facing.
“The draft Tourism Recovery Action Plan has been developed with industry and we look forward to working with the Minister to progress the actions identified as we all navigate through these unprecedented times.”