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Titanic project offers great opportunity for tourism

The audit office has raised concerns about governance and processes where the Tourist Board's Signature Projects are concerned (News, December 13). The auditor general's report should be studied closely and, where there are issues, they certainly must be addressed.

What we shouldn't do is talk down the potential of the excellent tourism product we have in Northern Ireland, or the role which signature projects, like the Titanic Building and the Giant's Causeway visitor centre, can play.

For too long, we've suffered from a lack of confidence and ambition where tourism is concerned and the stunning natural landscape which bring tourists to Northern Ireland has often been let down by a shortage of world-class visitor facilities.

The signature projects look likely to help plug that deficit. These are the types of attractions which can draw visitors to our shores and stimulate trade for hotels, restaurants, shops and bars.

Let's learn lessons and do things better the next time. This report does give the NITB cause to look seriously at its performance. But don't talk down new, world-class facilities before they have even opened. We have the opportunity to build the kind of tourist infrastructure which the industry sorely needs. Let's get out and sell that excellent product and bring the world to Northern Ireland to enjoy our beautiful country - from the lakelands of Fermanagh to the stunning Causeway Coast.

HARRY CULLEN

Northern Ireland Conservatives

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