[Sinn Fein]

11 December 2000

Time to promote angling tourism in the north

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee, Mary Nelis has said that it is time to promote angling tourism in the north.

Mrs Nelis said:

``During the committee's inquiry into fishing it has become clear that there is real under-development in the area of angling tourism in the north of Ireland.

``Department officials revealed that in the north 8,000 people a year enjoying angling in the north of Ireland and contribute to our angling tourist industry. This compares with 139,000 people who contribute to the angling tourism industry in the south.

``A recent visit by the committee to Galway highlighted exactly what this can mean for local economies. Revenue from boat rental, the sale of fishing supplies, Bed & Breakfast accommodation, restaurants and bars has the potential to contribute significantly to our local economies.

``The work of all-Ireland bodies such as Waterways Ireland are setting the precedence for substantial growth in the tourist industry. It is now time to look at how we can develop the potential for growth in angling tourism that the south been so effective at exploiting. Both the Minister, Reg Empey and the Tourism Board need to take the lead in promoting angling tourism in the north.''

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