Alliance Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke stated: “The recent panel discussion held in the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle allowed local businesses to speak to their elected representatives on matters regarding the local economy, marketing and selling Down District, business support and finance, employment and skills, as well as business/regional development.
“It was clear during the panel discussion from a number of questions raised by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and local businesses that the issue of better marketing and tourism promotion of Newcastle as a tourist destination and Down District was a major issue not being properly addressed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
“With major widespread national and international media coverage and promotion of Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, the North Coast and Causeway Coast it seems that Newcastle as a seaside coastal resort that has seen a dramatic increase in tourists and visitor numbers has not featured prominently during any media promotion by the NITB in 2012.
“There can be no doubt that both Newcastle with the many splendid natural attractions as well as other locations in Down District has indeed a lot to offer international tourists and visitors coming to Northern Ireland.
“Yet the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has failed to expedite the process of better media marketing of Newcastle and Down District to the international tourist market similar to Belfast, Derry/Londonderry the Causeway Coast to name but a few locations.
“Newcastle and Down District has some of most picturesque natural locations, hospitality and tourist spots not to mention as well the many highly acclaimed golf courses and forest parks. Yet the NITB have not delivered in terms of major media marketing and selling Down District on the same par as other parts of Northern Ireland.
“I have therefore asked the Chief Executive of Down District Council who has agreed to write to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to request a meeting to discuss better media and public relations promotion of Newcastle and Down District.
“Tourism is one of Down District’s best economic assets and I look forward to discussing with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board a better media and public relations package for Newcastle and Down District in order to increase tourism potential.”