Belfast Telegraph

Tourism chief hails 'potential of Ulster'

By William Allen

A business lunch hosted by Coleraine Borough Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Tourism Ireland, saw 60 local business people and tourism experts discuss the opportunities and challenges for job creation and wealth generation in the area.

The main speaker at the event in the Bushtown House Hotel, Paul O'Toole, chief executive officer of Tourism Ireland, praised the efforts of the Coleraine-based team who head up much of his organisation's marketing initiatives.

Mr O'Toole said that although Northern Ireland tourism was continuing to play catch-up with the rest of the island of Ireland, he was delighted to see an ongoing upturn.

He said: "The recent endorsement by the Lonely Planet Bluelist that Northern Ireland is one of the 'must see' destinations in 2007, and the online survey that the Antrim Coast is number five in the top ten views in the world, shows the tremendous potential Northern Ireland has as a tourist destination."

He added that more investment is needed in the tourism sector but it is the genuine welcome and friendliness of the people that continue to make a visit memorable for tourists.

Julienne Elliott, president of the Coleraine chamber, welcomed Mr O'Toole's remarks.

She said: "There are clear indications that local tourism can expand dramatically if devolved government is returned to the province."

Belfast Telegraph