Belfast Telegraph

Outcry as Belfast perceived to be least-safe city in UK or Ireland

By Nevin Farrell and Peter Woodman

A survey that suggests short-break tourists see Belfast as the least-safe city in the UK or Ireland to visit has been slammed by a former Lord Mayor.

Of the eight UK and Ireland destinations in the survey by Post Office Travel Insurance, only 37% deemed Belfast safe.

And almost one in five of those surveyed reckoned Belfast was a risky destination - 19% - although even more (20%) thought Manchester was risky.

By contrast, 58% thought Dublin was safe, and only 6% saw it as risky.

An angry Jim Rodgers said he hoped the survey won't put off tourists from visiting Belfast as he defended his native city.

The former mayor and UUP councillor said he was "startled and disappointed" by the findings.

He added: "I wonder how they arrived at this because on Friday I met with no fewer than 20 councillors from the north east of England and they were over here on a course and they were all saying how safe, how great, how friendly a city Belfast was.

"I have rarely met anybody saying they found it to be scary or unsafe. There has been the occasional incident involving tourists but largely - whether west, east, north or south in Belfast - there is rarely anything happens, if you look at the numbers coming here to enjoy what the city has to offer.

"I would like to meet with those who were responsible for this survey. I don't accept it, as they could damage Belfast. There are very few visitors who get assaulted in Belfast. I would like them to have another look and give us more facts and figures.

"Belfast is a very safe city. We have the odd occasion when people let us down. We had 40 years of violence and even then we still had visitors.

"Maybe it is just a psychological effect, but people want to come because they know the Troubles are over.

"This survey is disappointing, worrying and disturbing and I hope it will not put visitors off."

The survey indicated York was the world's safest city, with Cairo the most risky.

Of those asked, 72% felt York was safe, with only 1% considering the Yorkshire city risky.

Of 42 world towns, Bath, Edinburgh and Brighton were also considered particularly safe, while Bangkok, Istanbul and Marrakech were, after Cairo, the cities deemed least safe.

Second in the UK table was Bath, with 69% saying it was safe and only 2% regarding it as risky.

Belfast lives up to its reputation as one of UK's safest

Factfile

Percentage of people in poll who believe the following destinations are safe:

York: 72%

Bath: 69%

Edinburgh: 69%

Brighton: 62%

Venice: 59%

Vienna: 58%

London: 58%

Dublin: 58%

Florence: 56%

Stockholm: 56%

Copenhagen: 54%

Manchester: 53%

Belfast: 37%

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