Editor's Viewpoint: Your chance to get city buzzing again
Published 25/01/2013 | 08:00
This newspaper's campaign, We're Backing Belfast, has even made it onto the floor of the House of Commons, with North Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds, lauding our efforts to rally support for the beleaguered traders of our capital city.
It started in the most inauspicious of circumstances last week when blizzards were an additional reason for shoppers or those just seeking a good night out to stay at home. But our readers rallied behind the cause and many shop, pub, restaurant and nightspot owners reported an increase in business.
It is a campaign which also caught the imagination of the business community who have enlisted Stormont's help to promote the city vigorously in a bid to recover the disastrous trading conditions caused by the flag protests. This evening the protesters are again vowing to bring the city's main arteries to a standstill, but there are chinks of light in this ongoing unrest. The earlier violence now seems to have dissipated and serious efforts are being made to find a political solution.
So again this weekend we are appealing to the public to come to the city and enjoy all that it has to offer. Businesses are offering some fantastic bargains to lure in customers and it goes without saying that they need as many people as possible through the doors of their premises. For many this will be the first pay weekend since Christmas, so there will possibly be more disposable income to spend. This is not about profit for wealthy business owners, but about preserving jobs and stabilising the economy.
Above all it is about showing that Belfast is open for business. That is a positive message not just for the city but for the whole province. There is no doubt that recent events have cast the province in a dismal light, nationally and internationally, but the resilience of people here is never in question. They can show that again tonight - and even go home with a bargain or have a great night out on the cheap. What more incentive do you need?