Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan has said we must maximise our great tourism potential.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee was taking evidence earlier today from interest groups from the Northern Ireland tourism and hospitality sector and representatives from Tourism Ireland as part of its inquiry into the future of the land border with the Republic of Ireland.
The South Antrim MP said:
“Today at Committee, we heard from the industry some of the challenges that the tourism sector expect to face after we leave the European Union, including potential checks at the border and issues around access to labour.
“It is important that these concerns are taken on board by those involved in Brexit negotiations and that these challenges are overcome. This will not only benefit the tourism & hospitality industry, but the wider economy also.
“However, leaving the EU may allow greater flexibility. The potential for a Northern Ireland specific rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality services is something worth exploring, so we can compete on a more level playing field with the Republic of Ireland’s 9 percent rate.
“Above all, we need to dig into the detail of all aspects of Brexit and help the industry prepare to grasp the opportunities that will arise.
“Unfortunately, the Northern Ireland Executive has not supported the industry adequately and failed to bring forward a tourism strategy to meet the needs of the sector, particularly around education and training.
“Going forward, we must do all we can to maximise our great tourism potential.”