Former Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Ekin has said a new initiative to attract visitors to Belfast City Centre raises the prospect of ending the days of ‘ghost-town Belfast’ and opening up the evening economy. The plan would see shops opening later and restaurants offering evening deals.
The Alliance Councillor stated: “This move, if done properly, could make Belfast one of the most competitive shopping and eating locations in the British Isles. Since we in the Alliance Party are pledged to ending the era of ‘government hand-outs’ and promoting an era of ‘wealth creation’, this is an excellent move. It was plainly ludicrous that, up to now, you could barely get a cup of coffee in Belfast after 5pm most days.
“The days of ‘ghost-town’ Belfast must end. There has been a lot of talk about a ‘dynamic, vibrant city’ but little action to bring it about. The recognition that Belfast must be open for business a long time before and a long time after civil servants have stopped work is long overdue, but is a significant step in the right direction. The evening economy has brought in £1 bn to Manchester City Centre in the past few years, and there is no reason we cannot do just as well in Belfast.”