North's tourism industry losing out

The North’s tourist industry is losing a massive two hundred and fifty million pounds a year because of sectarian violence linked to annual Orange parades.

The North’s tourist industry is losing a massive two hundred and fifty million pounds a year because of sectarian violence linked to annual Orange parades.

The chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board says Americans and others will not come to visit during the peak summer months for fear of the violence.

Tourism soared to an all-time high in 1995, the year after the first IRA ceasefire but since l996, largely because of Drumcree, it has been in the doldrums.

The likely cost of foreign visitors staying away from the North during the height of the marching season - two hundred and fifty million pounds a year has come as a shock.

Roy Bailie, chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, admits he was appalled when he first heard tour operators from America, Europe and Britain declining to bring tourists here in July.

The tourist board, he said, is not going to meet its target of two million visitors a year by 2004 if year after year violence flares during July.

Mr. Bailie said that TV film of violence directed against schoolchildren in Ardoyne has not helped.

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