Memorandum submitted by the Northern Ireland
1.1 The NITB, a non-departmental public
body, was initially established under the Development of Tourist
Traffic Act (NI) 1948 (now repealed) and reconstituted under the
Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992.
The Board has both mandatory functions and responsibilities
which it shall perform and discretionary functions which it may
perform with the approval of the Minister.
2.1 The Board shall:
encourage the provision and improvement
of tourist accommodation and tourist amenities;
advise the Department generally on
the formulation and implementation of its policy in relation to
the development of tourism; and
undertake other functions as are
conferred on the Board by or under the Order or any other statutory
2.2 The Board may:
provide advice and information about
travelling to and holidays in Northern Ireland and publicise or
advertise holidays in Northern Ireland;
provide or assist any event which
appears to the Board likely to encourage tourism;
co-operate with persons or bodies
training persons to do work wholly or mainly connected with tourism;
establish or assist in establishing
any body in connection with tourism;
trade in any business associated
make known the financial assistance
which may be provided under the Order;
make charges for services provided
by it and for any certificate or approval grant by it for the
purposes of any statutory provision other than the Order;
carry out surveys and collect statistics
and information relating to the tourist industry;
generally assist in making Northern
Ireland attractive to tourists; and
co-operate with or assist any other
body or association carrying out activities falling within the
functions of the Board.
3.1 BTA does not have statutory responsibility
for the promotion of Northern Ireland, NITB has observer status
on the BTA Board and enjoys close co-operation on a range of operational
matters. NITB purchases services from BTA in a number of markets
including accommodation for its New York and Frankfurt Offices.
3.2 In preparation for devolution within
the UK the BTA, in conjunction with DCMS, drew up an agreement
for BTA to continue to provide the role of marketing Britain overseas
on behalf of Scotland, England and Wales. Following the formation
of the Northern Ireland Assembly in similar "Milestones Agreement"
was agreed between BTA and NITB in late 2000.
4.1 NITB also co-operates closely with its
Southern Irish counterpart, Bord Failte. This includes joint promotions,
exchanges of market intelligence, and joint marketing.
5. NEW ARRANGEMENTS
5.1 Following the creation of the Northern
Ireland Assembly in 1998 it was agreed that the promotion of tourism
would be an "area of co-operation" to be developed under
the control of the newly established North-South Ministerial Council.
5.2 A new publicly owned limited company
has been established by the two governments in Ireland, NITB and
Bord Failte to carry out functions aimed to promote increased
tourism to the island of Ireland.
5.3 An independent Board has been appointed
by both governments (six nominations from both Northern Ireland
and the Republic of Ireland) to establish the company, which is
expected to become operational later this year.
6. CURRENT PROMOTIONS
6.1 NITB currently receives £13.88
million annually in government funding for the range of activities
undertaken. £4.7 million of this total is distributed by
way of capital support for tourism development under the Board's
Selective Financial Assistance Scheme. NITB is also responsible
for the administration of European Union and International Fund
for Ireland monies for both capital and marketing support to the
6.2 NITB's present marketing promotional
Budget (including EU sources) stands at £5.3 million. This
is spent on a range of generic and tactical activities directed
by NITB Headquarters and through its market offices in London,
Glasgow, Dublin, Germany, New York and Toronto. (NITB has also
"representative agents" in France and Australia/New
6.3 In addition to NITB promotions, five
Regional Tourism Organisations (part funded by NITB) are responsible
for marketing key "local" tourism areas.
7. TOURISM INFORMATION
7.1 The supply of tourism information within
Northern Ireland is almost entirely a Local Authority responsibility.
NITB has a role in the co-ordination and standardisation of tourism
information provision through the establishment of the NI Tourist
Information Centre (TIC) Network in 1994.
7.2 There are 26 Networked TIC's in operation
in 23 of the 26 Local Authority areas in Northern Ireland. A further
16 "second tier" TIC's also operate.
7.3 NITB does not provide revenue for TIC's
but contributes in its role of Network Co-ordinator and undertaking
tasks of training, benchmarking, branding etc.
8. IMPACT OF
Northern Ireland has had four cases of FMD only.Test
results from two further farms in Co Antrim are still awaited.
The original outbreak in South Armagh was confirmed
on 1 March.
The subsequent cases were confirmed on 4 April
and 22 April in Co Tyrone and on 15 April in the Glens of Antrim,
a popular tourism area.
The single outbreak in the ROI was declared
in Co Louth on 22 March. The area is immediately adjacent to the
border with Northern Ireland and the restriction zone for the
Louth case extended into the Newry and Mourne District of Northern
8.2 Impact on Tourism
It has been difficult to establish hard evidence
to accurately quantify the effect that FMD has had on tourism
A number of events have been cancelled and it
is clear that many small tourism businesses in rural areas, particularly
farmhouse accommodation, have effectively been closed since early
The Premier Sports Tourism event in Northern
Irelandthe NW 200 Motorcycle raceswas postponed
by organisers on the advice of the Northern Ireland Executive.
The event, scheduled for mid-May, generates in excess of £5.5
million in direct income to the Coleraine area.
Initial NITB projections for the potential impact
of a prolonged and widespread outbreak of FMD in Northern Ireland
is to wipe £210 million from the industry's annual earnings
from out-of-state and domestic tourism. This is in a context of
NITB spend targets of £310 million for out-of-state tourism
and anticipated domestic tourism spend in excess of £60 million.
Estimates of losses by industry sector groups
are almost entirely anecdotal. The Northern Ireland Hotel Federation
has gone on record quoting £4 million of lost income by the
end of March. NIHF fears further outbreaks in Northern Ireland
may lead to cancellation of tour programmes scheduled for the
8.3 Actions for recovery
The Minister announced an agreed industry recovery
plan with a budget in excess of £1 million on 5 April. This
funding is already fully committed to a series of over 100 marketing
and promotional activities implemented and co-ordinated by NITB.
NITB has established a seven day/week information
line to provide advice and reassurance to visitors (5 April).
NITB's Internet service provides daily updates on tourism facilities
open to visitors.
Details of recovery activities are exchanged
at all levels within the industry and as part of a weekly telephone
conference exchange between BTA, ETC, Visitscotland, WTB and NITB.
The main issue of concern to tourism representative
groups is the expressed need for immediate compensation. Many
representatives will cite tourism as being treated unfairly in
terms of support to farmers.
In addition to extra funding provided for recovery
through marketing, the following relief measures are available
in Northern Ireland based on a demonstration of hardship:
deferral of Rates payments;
deferral of Tax and VAT payments;
access to Small Firms Loan Guarantee
The above measures fall well short of calls
for rebates and actual financial support sought by industry groups.