North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has told the Tourism Minister Arlene Foster that her department and Invest NI must prioritise hotel provision in Ballycastle and capitalise on the economic opportunities that clearly exist in the town.
Mr McKay addressed the Tourism Minister at the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee and said that it was crucially important that Invest NI and NITB work to secure investment for a high quality hotel in Ballycastle.
Mr McKay said: “Securing the continued existence of the Marine as a hotel at the seafront as well as the development of other proposals for hotels in the town of Ballycastle needs to be a priority for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, NITB and Invest NI.
“There are a number of points the Minister and I agree on, namely that we want to see hotels which are 5 star and we want to ensure that the regular number of daytrip visitors we have become overnight visitors. The further point I made to the Minister was that Ballycastle, with its close proximity to major tourist attractions such as Carrick-a-rede, Bushmills, the Giant’s Causeway and its own hospitality sector is the perfect place for such a hotel.
“I have further requested a dedicated meeting with the Minister to discuss what needs to be done to secure investment and financial support for hotel provision and will continue to work to improve the excellent tourism product that we already have in this area.”
Local Councillor Cara McShane added: “Tourism is a major source of employment in Ballycastle and the further development of this sector through hotel provision will secure new jobs. The opportunities are there to make such proposals a reality and Sinn Féin will continue to raise these at the highest level to try and secure commitment and buy-in from the agencies who are best placed to secure investment.”