Northern Ireland hospitality sector has the 'potential for 50,000 jobs'
The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland has the potential to create up to 5,000 new jobs in the next 10 years, a new lobby group has said.
Hospitality Ulster, which will be launched today, said the sector would potentially employ around 50,000 people.
According to its estimates, one in 20 jobs in Northern Ireland is in hospitality. The sector also accounts for £653.4m in wages, and £70.5m in corporation tax payments, the group said.
Colin Neill, the head of the new organisation, said developing its skill base and adapting a more professional approach would enable the sector to make an even greater contribution to the economy.
Hospitality Ulster has developed out of licensed trade body Pubs of Ulster - but will now represent restaurants as well as pubs.
Mr Neill said: "Despite the loss of jobs during the economic downturn and sluggish growth recently, we now have the opportunity to really improve upon a sector which has so much promise. Weak projected growth over the next decade is growth nonetheless and it is up to us to bring forward a solution to buck the forecast."