Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Businesses hopeful of G8 windfall

Bars, restaurants, hoteliers and shopkeepers hope to cash in following the international exposure of the Lough Erne region

Fermanagh is gearing up for a windfall from the G8 summit, local businesses have said.

Bars, restaurants, hoteliers and shopkeepers hope to cash in following the international exposure of the scenic Lough Erne region where world leaders met.

Economic growth this year in Northern Ireland is predicted at about 0.5%, according to economist Esmond Birnie, and it could be some time before the true benefit of the international meeting is reflected in foreign investment and tourist numbers.

A massive investment conference is due to be held in the region in the autumn led by the Prime Minister and a series of measures have been announced to boost enterprise in the struggling local economy.

Television pictures beamed around the world of global leaders in Fermanagh, the Lakeland County and the beautiful Lough Erne golf resort have excited expectations among local businesses.

Patrick Conlon, who owns the Shuphoric Ladies Footwear Boutique in Enniskillen, sold two pairs of his most expensive Dutch-made shoes to two Russian journalists during the summit.

"There will be a lot more money flowing into the economy, particularly the service industry with the police and the ambulance staff, all that will flow back into the economy, the leaders' staff," he said.

"They are all spending in the local economy."

A leading hotelier called for more effort to sell the region to tourists abroad.

Rodney Watson, owner of the Killyhevlin hotel in Enniskillen since 1976, said: "Potentially there should be 10 times as many boats in the Lough and even with a slight upturn in bed occupancy in the county could double the number of out-of-state visitors."

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