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Conference was a tourism boost ... not boring

I wish to record my disappointment in relation to an article in your newspaper, headlined 'It's science . . . but come on, it's not that boring', which referred to the International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC), which was held in Belfast (News, July 28).

In its 53-year history, Belfast is only the third UK city to host the ICPEAC conference.

It is one of the most prestigious physics conferences in the world and it attracted 600 delegates from across Europe, the USA, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Israel.

My responsibility as tourism minister is to encourage business tourism to Northern Ireland and I was disappointed with the imagery and headline used to accompany the article.

Business tourism is a key tourism growth area, as approximately 40% of business visitors return again with their families as leisure visitors to a destination they have first visited for business purposes.

Northern Ireland has many unique advantages as a business tourism destination and I hope we can work together by publicising events such as the ICPEAC conference positively to key national and international audiences.

ARLENE FOSTER MLA

Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

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