The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) has welcomed the economy minister, Diane Dodds MLA, announcement that the executive has agreed that hotels and the wider tourism industry will reopen on 3 July 2020.
The federation has lobbied for the hotel opening date to be reviewed and has worked in collaboration with others to ensure that additional aspects of the hospitality sector are opened in the same timeframe.
In a statement, CEO Janice Gault said: “There have been considerable efforts behind the scenes through the Tourism Recovery Steering Group and we commend the executive for responding in a positive way to the sector’s requirements.
“We are also encouraged by the recognition of the role that tourism and hospitality have to play in restoring the local economy and social normality as the pandemic subsides. The safety of our staff and visitors remains paramount and it is essential that we give reassurance to local communities as visitors return.”
She said the unlocking of hotels, in tandem with the wider industry including cafes, restaurants and pubs that serve food and visitor attractions, will enhance the visitor experience and enable Northern Ireland to be promoted as a destination offering, a great stay with lots of things to see and do.
Gault added: “The NIHF recognises the trust that has been put in the sector with hotels remaining fully committed to opening in a safe manner with appropriate social distancing measures in place.
“The federation has contributed to an industry framework with new operating guidelines and this process is at an advanced stage after consultation on a nationwide basis with government, industry, tourism agencies and trade unions.”