Northern Ireland and Brexit

By | Category: Travel destinations

As Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson tour the country to persuade Tory voters to vote for them, Northern Ireland tourism bosses are concerned about how tourism might be affected after the UK leaves the EU.

Although the back stop provision is there as a standby it would be much better if those both north and south of the border knew what would happen. Of course, they don’t and whilst politicians bluster and posture, ordinary mortals have to second-guess and plan for as many eventualities as they can.

Tourism is one industry that could be hard hit.

The biggest source of visitors to both the north and the south is from each other and the rest of the UK. No wonder then that the chief executive of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance – Joanne Stuart – said on a local BBC programme that what is really needed is a seamless border to ensure the free flow of visitors.

That the north and the south are intertwined became obvious when the Irish government removed departure taxes at airports. Ulster folk headed south to save money and the two Belfast airports suffered with some airlines pulling out of the north altogether. Not unsurprisingly it wasn’t long before Northern Ireland had APD removed so that both sides were on an equal playing field.

 It isn’t only visitors that will be affected. Those who work in the tourism industry and who cross the border regularly will be affected as well.

If there are barriers between the north and the south even as small as losing a few minutes in having to complete forms or go through checks. Then some visitors will be dissuaded from travelling into the adjoining part. As most come into Dublin and then head north it could be Northern Ireland that suffers more than the Republic.

But given that leaving the EU is likely to happen, Stuart offered no solutions from the industry on what could be done. And there’s the rub. The industry can’t wait for politicians to stop fiddling. It needs to come up with solutions. For example, is there something in the agreed Common Travel Area that can be used to make life flow more easily after Brexit?

Stuart said that tourism had grown 35% in the last five years. Will it grow that much after Brexit?

Dunluce Castle, one of the many places visited by tourists visiting Northern Ireland – Image Discover Northern Ireland
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