Jim Shannon ,MP for Strangford, has welcomed the record-breaking numbers of visitors to Northern Ireland and is particular to Ards and Strangford. £930million spent in Northern Ireland in the last year up 9% on the year before. Tourism will soon be worth £1billion to the NI economy.
In our own constituency of Strangford and in Ards in particular – Exploris, Mountsteward, Scrabo Tower and Strangford Lough continue to be the big attractions and I am given to understand that the Department for Communities are considering extended opening times for Scrabo Tower. With more and more people coming to the area, it is clear we do need more Bed and Breakfast and perhaps hotel accommodation in the area to make the most of our attractions.
The jewel in the crown of Mountstewart is a must-visit destination and exploris visitor figures have moved forward in leaps and bounds and the reopening of Scrabo to the public further reminded people of our potential. All around Strangford lough, we have numerous points of interest and we need to make the most of these and I am fully supportive of Ards and North Down development strategy to enhance tourism for the area. Number are up – but there is more to come if more work is done and I and the local businesses can’t wait.