UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING Brexit has led to a decline in tourism in Northern Ireland, experts have warned.
The Chief Executive of Tourism NI, John McGrillen, says that the tourism infdustry in Northern Ireland suffered a drop of over 20% from people in the Republic crossing the border to to visit iconic attractions such as the Titanic Museum and the Giant's Causeway.
The Irish Times reports that Mr McGrillen also referenced a fall in the number of French and German tourists visiting Northern Ireland, and has claimed that uncertainty surrounding the Irish border and a weakening German economy due to the British Exit from the EU is to blame.
“Those are potential consequences of Brexit and the uncertainty about being able to travel across the border and driving licences etc," he told the outlet.
Northern Ireland-- and in fact the whole of the UK-- are also struggling to draw international conferences, he says.
“Belfast’s ability to secure conferences has diminished. There is a direct and indirect impact of that issue around consumer sentiment, with potential for less visitors from Europe.”
British tourists were also unlikely to visit for short trips or day trips, he says, due to the fact the island of Ireland is not as easily accessible as the rest of the UK and people would need to book a ferry or a flight to get there.
There were, however, a higher number of American tourists visiting Northern Ireland recently, which helped to compensate for the drop in interest elsewhere.
Competing with the Republic of Ireland's tourism was a factor as well, he said, pointing out that the budget for marketing tourism was far smaller in the North.