Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

G8 summit has long-term benefits for Northern Ireland economy

Next month's G8 summit will be held at the Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort on the outskirts of Enniskillen
Aerial view of Lough Erne
Aerial view of Lough Erne

Businesses in Northern Ireland believe next month's G8 summit in Fermanagh has potential to grow the economy in the long term as well as the immediate future.

In a survey of 213 businesses by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy on behalf of Barclays Bank, 84% felt the G8 was a good thing for the province.

According to Barclays, the gathering of the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations at the Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort on June 17 and 18 will bring £40m of net benefits to the region.

The bank said the estimate was modelled on an evaluation by the Scottish Executive of the economic benefits of the 2008 Gleneagles summit, adjusted for inflation and Northern Ireland-specific factors.

And the £40m would be generated by G8 contracts given to Northern Ireland businesses, over-time payments for security and other staff plus the spend on preparation and practicalities such as training exercises, accommodation, catering and logistics. It also include extra spending by delegates, their staff, journalists – and even the protesters who are expected to picket events.

But businesses also told the survey that the event brought potential for economic growth in the future from increased tourism, exports and foreign direct investment as Northern Ireland would be showcased to a global audience during proceedings.

While the main event takes place in the Lough Erne resort, other hotels in the Co Fermanagh area, and even the Republic's border counties, have been block-booked by participating nations.

The event is expected to result in up to 45,000 accommodation nights as delegates, media and officials set up in Fermanagh and the surrounding area – Barclays said that could generate up to £7.5m.

Homeowners in the area have also jumped on the bandwagon by offering their homes for rent, charging as much as £1,250 for a week's stay up to and during the summit on June 17 and 18.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers (below) welcomed the report's findings.

She said: "It shows that the benefits hosting the summit will be realised both in the short term and through a positive longer-term legacy, by helping increase inward investment."

Businesses in hospitality and tourism were the most positive about the benefits that would accrue from the summit – but there was also enthusiasm from professional services and manufacturing firms.

Global media coverage would generate the equivalent of £70m in advertising space in the immediate term and over £500m in the longer-term.

£500m

the equivalent value in advertising that the G8 global media coverage will generate45,000

the amount of accommodation nights booked by delegates, media and officials£1,250

what local residents are charging for a week's stay during and up to summit

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