Northern Ireland

Businessman calls for dedicated tourism minister in executive

Giant's Causeway Image copyright Martina Gardiner
Image caption Tourism statistics released earlier this month showed that the Giant's Causeway remains NI's most popular visitor attraction

A leading travel operator has said Northern Ireland should have a government minister dedicated to tourism.

At present, tourism sits within the Department for the Economy.

The Belfast businessman Mukesh Sharma told the BBC's Inside Business programme that it should have a higher profile.

"We need a minister for travel and tourism and aviation and we need a budget for that department," he said.

"Other areas around Europe and around the world have that in their portfolio of ministers, Ireland they have an aviation minister and a tourism minister all rolled into one, the UK has one.

"Tourism is the fluffy side of foreign investment and it requires a totally different mentality."

You can hear that interview in full on Inside Business on Radio Ulster at 13:30 BST on Sunday.

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