Belfast Telegraph

Minister to review tourist body

Northern Ireland's Tourist Board is to undergo a major shake-up, it has been announced.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said she wanted to make sure the body was fit for purpose and could deliver a £1 billion industry by 2020.

She said: "The review will examine current structures to ensure they are fit for purpose and the optimum necessary to deliver our tourism targets."

NITB, which employs 160 people and has an annual budget of £24.4 million, is primarily responsible for the development of tourism and the marketing of Northern Ireland as a destination for domestic visitors.

The review, which aims to be complete by next March, will re-examine its functions and organisational structures.

It will also look at the role of local councils and how NITB can deliver on targets set out in the Programme for Government and the economic strategy.

Ms Foster added: "Tourism is a crucial sector of the local economy and over the last few years we have been working hard to develop our tourism product. The Executive has delivered key projects and events such as the Irish Open, Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Visitor Centre and the Walled City Signature project to ensure maximum economic benefit to the local economy.

"Much has been achieved in the last two years, however we cannot be complacent. Now is an opportune time to undertake a review and consider future plans. I want to ensure we have the right structures in place to maximise future tourism growth and deliver on my and the industry's aspiration to grow tourism into a £1 billion industry by 2020."

The Tourist Board (NITB) was set up in 1948 as a statutory, non-departmental public body to encourage tourism; encourage the provision and improvement of tourist accommodation and tourist amenities as well as to advise the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

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