G8 summit: Research says it will bring £40m to region

Lough Erne golf resort The G8 summit will be held at Lough Erne golf resort in County Fermanagh

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The G8 summit in Northern Ireland is expected to boost business by £40m , according to research.

Barclays Bank found almost 85% of businesses believe holding the summit in County Fermanagh will be good for the region.

It said there was also longer-term potential to boost tourism, exports and foreign investment.

The leaders of the eight wealthiest nations are to meet at the Lough Erne resort in Enniskillen in June.

A total of 213 telephone interviews were conducted with businesses in NI.

The research was carried out by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy within the University of Ulster on behalf of Barclays.

Across all sectors and geographically across Northern Ireland, two thirds of businesses expect the G8 Summit to have a positive or very positive effect on the economy.

Businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector were the most positive about the summit (73%), though support was strong across all sectors with 69% of professional services supportive and 58% of manufacturers.

It is anticipated that demand for a total of 35,000 to 45,000 nights of accommodation could be generated in Northern Ireland as a result of the trips from the delegates, their entourages, security, international media and associated officials.

The report from Barclays indicated that this could "feasibly generate" £5.5m to £7.5m for the tourist industry, predominantly in County Fermanagh.

Changed society

Substantial global media coverage of the event could potentially generate the equivalent of £70m of advertising space in the immediate term, and more than £500m in the longer term.

Following the G8 Summit, a third of local businesses believe that delegates from the world's eight wealthiest nations will come away with a view that Northern Ireland is a changed society, capable of attracting global business.

A further 20% believe that it will highlight Northern Ireland's untapped potential.

Showcasing Northern Ireland to a global audience is the main benefit that businesses expect from the G8 summit (40%).

A third of the businesses surveyed also expect long-term economic benefits.

The report said although it was difficult to quantify long-term benefits, a 1% rise in long-term tourist expenditure, export sales or foreign direct investment (FDI) investment would be worth £180m to the region over three years.

Almost three-quarters of businesses stated that they believe the Republic of Ireland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, will also share in the economic benefits.

A number of delegations are choosing to stay in the Republic of Ireland.

Adrian Doran, of Barclays Northern Ireland, said: "The results of our research can be seen as a ringing endorsement from the Northern Ireland business community towards hosting the G8 event in Lough Erne.

"It is rightly seen as a fantastic opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland in a positive light to a global audience, as well as having immediate and longer-term benefits for the local economy."

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said the report showed that the prime minister's decision to host the G8 Summit in Fermanagh would provide a "major economic boost" to Northern Ireland.

"It shows that the benefits of Northern Ireland hosting the summit will be realised both in the short term and through a positive longer-term legacy, by helping increase inward investment."

It will be the first time the annual summit has been held in the United Kingdom since it was at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005.

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