SDLP South Down Assembly candidate Councillor Eamonn O’Neill has said the tourism potential in his constituency must be built in order to create jobs and provoke economic growth.
Councillor O’Neill said, “As we all know, the Red Arrows will return to Newcastle this summer following the great success of last year’s event. This type of event tourism is an excellent way forward to build on the success of our growing tourism industry in South Down and draw visitors to our area. It is vital that we maximise upon our full tourism potential as this is one of the key growth areas in our economy that will lift us out of this recession.
“However, government investment is required to enable maximum returns. For instance, there is currently not enough support to develop our agri-tourism sector which can be a truly unique and interesting experience for visitors as well as being a wonderful way of helping local food producers and creating local jobs.
“Down District Council, under the SEED Europe programme, carried out a training scheme with 14 food producers in the Down area. It was so successful that all participants increased their produce, doubled their workforces creating employment for people in their communities. This is a prime example of how European investment can transform our local businesses and build prosperity in South Down. We must use Europe more to help our indigenous businesses flourish.
“The SDLP believe that we must capitalise upon our strengths, give people real chances to secure employment and take meaningful action to reduce the widespread emigration that is currently tearing the soul out of our island,” Councillor O’Neill.