SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan believes that tourism is the pathway to job creation, prosperity and new long-term sustainable investment in our coast and waterways.
Speaking to The Times, the Limavady man said he is ‘concerned’ that investment in protecting our coastline and waterways is not in place, and that no ‘clearly defined body’ is in control of the future of these amenities.
“Magilligan Point is a case in hand,” he said. “ There is evidence of serious erosion which needs to be addressed now, and not left to a time in the future when it is too late.
“The highly successful tourist branding ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ has won the imagination of tourists from all over the world and we need to be part of that.
“International tourists don’t recognise borders. There is potential to create thousands of jobs while saving our coastlines for future generations but that requires new responsibilities for our local councils and clear direction and resources from the Assembly but we need a marketing strategy and the best medium for that is the extension of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’.
“Our wonderful coastline from Lough Foyle to Larne attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year generating millions of pounds in revenue. It is the jewel in the crown and needs to be protected environmentally from the ravages of the sea and the wear and tear of people.”
“If elected to the Assembly I will continue the work of the SDLP to raise the profile not just of the coastal areas, but the River Bann which must be linked through the Ulster Canal to the River Shannon making the waterways of Ireland an international attraction for tourists in the future.
“Tourism must not be built around six weeks in the summer, but embracing the twelve months of the year and catering for visitors who are increasingly attracted to water-based activities which generate new op-opportunities in a whole range of businesses including hotels, restaurants. Boat years and many others.
I intend to create opportunities to explore the development of this by arranging a number of conferences and seminars to attract the widest possible input to a future which will benefit everyone.”