Northern Ireland tourism suffers as hospitality costs soar
Rising transport and hospitality costs are damaging Northern Ireland's tourism industry, according to the Conservative party in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the latest Consumer Price Index, which showed that prices for restaurants, hotels and transport have increased substantially over the past number of years, NI Conservatives' economy spokesman Johnny Andrews said that more needs to be done to entice visitors here.
"Since 2007, prices in the hospitality industry have gone up by 21% and transport costs have risen by 24% in Northern Ireland," he said.
"By contrast, the Republic of Ireland figures are 0.5% for hotels and restaurants and 5.3% for transport.
"The problems facing our tourist industry are clearly obvious.
"Currently it is substantially more expensive for people to fly into Belfast rather than to fly into Dublin," said Mr Andrews.
"Equally, Northern Ireland's antiquated employment laws are providing a major headache for hotels and restaurants and they should be brought into line with the rest of the UK as quickly as possible."
He added: "Tourism can be key to Northern Ireland's economy and the industry cannot be expected to operate with one hand tied behind its back.
"Otherwise, our competitors will continue to attract visitors who should be destined for Northern Ireland," he explained.