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Shocking Tourism Funding Figures

Invest NI has defended its record of funding to tourism businesses in Newry and Mourne over the last 3 years after figures revealed the Newry and Armagh constituency received just £5k and South Down was awarded almost £40k while other constituency areas in the North received hundreds of thousands. Independent Unionist MLA for South Down John McCallister questioned the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) on why tourism businesses in South Down received such limited support from Invest NI compared to other constituencies. Between 2010 and 2013 Fermanagh and South Tyrone received £842k, North Antrim was awarded £384k and constituencies in east north and south Belfast each received between £140k – £190kto boost tourism driven businesses. In the same period Newry and Armagh received a paltry £5k while South Down received slightly better by pocketing £3k. However a spokesperson for Invest NI said it is up to businesses to seek funding. “Invest NI works hard top bring investment and jobs to Northern Ireland and does not direct investment to specific regions. Support for projects is demand led and can only be considered when a company has brought forward a viable business plan,” said the spokesperson. “We provide advice and financial support to help establish and develop tourism accommodation and other commercial tourism businesses and are actively working with local stakeholders in Newry Mourne and Down to help grow the local economy by supporting projects which will help top develop a valuable tourism infrastructure in Northern Ireland. One local tourism business to benefit is Kribben Cottages, a self catering complex in Annalong which was officially opened in June this year. Invest NI supported the construction of these self catering cottages and assisted the company with its brand development.” Mr McCallister urged DETI Minister Arlene Foster – whose department oversees Invest NI – to take proactive steps to address a “clear imbalance” and ensure “the rich potential of South Down’s tourist product is maximized.” He added: “I encourage entrepreneurs or existing tourism businesses in South Down to contact Invest NI and explore what help is available. The Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment must do more to promote the services and the work of Invest NI in South Down.”


Newry Democrat

23rd September 2014