Arlene Foster unveils £400k package for Derry City of Culture marketing
Arlene Foster last night gifted £400,000 for a new 'bespoke' marketing campaign for Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture.
The minister said that the new funding will be rolled out immediately and was part of a £1m package she was planning to contribute towards Derry's marketing effort for the entire 2013 year.
The shock announcement came just hours after criticism was levied by SDLP Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood (right).
Mr Eastwood had expressed alarm that a business case for funding submitted to Ms Foster's department in September 2012 had still not been decided upon two months into the City of Culture year.
Responding to his concerns, Ms Foster told the Telegraph last night: "NITB is liaising closely with colleagues in Derry City Council and the Culture Company to develop aligned marketing and communications plans going forward, taking budget constraints into account.
"I am delighted to announce a £400,000 bespoke campaign for Londonderry for the remainder of this financial year.
"I can also confirm I am seeking a further £600,000 for the next financial year, from April 2013, making a total of £1m for UK City of Culture marketing from DETI."
She added: "My department is very supportive of the UK City of Culture, with £750,000 to be invested in key events, through Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
"In addition £20m has been invested in capital projects across the city, to enhance the visitor experience as part of the UK City of Culture."
A spokeswoman for Derry City Council said the local authority had joined forces with various stakeholders before submitting the city's One Marketing Plan to DETI last year.