Industry associations meet with politicians in Northern Ireland

By Lisa James
Home » Industry associations meet with politicians in Northern Ireland

ABTA has joined trade partners at a meeting with key ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss the importance of the travel industry.

As well as discussing the economic and employment contribution that outbound travel and tourism provides to the region, discussions also covered workforce and skills issues, UK-EU relations, and how the industry can work with the Executive to ensure the sector prospers.

The meeting was able to take place despite the General Election campaign, as purdah rules do not apply to the Northern Ireland Executive during elections to Westminster.

Chief Executive Mark Tanzer and Director of Public Affairs Luke Petherbridge joined Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents (ANITA) Chair Damian Murphy and Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) Chair Judith Owens at a meeting with Sinn Fein Minister Aisling Reilly and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Minister Pam Cameron.

Mark said: “We were pleased to secure this meeting on behalf of our members, and it was a useful opportunity to discuss the powerful role that outbound travel plays in the economy of Northern Ireland, as well as the close links we share with the wider tourism sector. In particular, we stressed the need for clearer lines of ministerial responsibility for outbound travel. 

“We’ll continue to work with Ministers, MLAs across all parties, and officials, to ensure the views of the industry in Northern Ireland are heard and that we can work together to maximise the potential of the sector.” 

Damian said: “The experience of the sector during the pandemic demonstrated the need for better understanding of travel’s importance in the Executive, which is why ANITA was established. 

“Working with ABTA and industry partners we’ve been able to be secure this meeting with Ministers, and it’s important we now build on that by maintaining regular engagement with politicians and officials locally – not only from ABTA and ANITA, but also by individual businesses engaging with their local politicians.” 

Judith added: “NITA was established to promote the value of all tourism to the economy of Northern Ireland, and to provide a much-needed united voice. I was pleased to be able to support the points around the value of outbound travel today, as well as to discuss vitally important issues for all tourism businesses, including those operating domestically and inbound too.”

Pictured, from left, are: Aisling Reilly, Mark Tanzer, Luke Petherbridge, Judith Owens, Damian Murphy, and Pam Cameron.

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