Tourism

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 14th March 2007.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 11:30 am, 14th March 2007

May I say that 2005 was the first year since the troubles began that more people visited Northern Ireland than live there. That is a landmark. When the new Executive and Assembly are up and running in a couple of weeks, they can build on that. There is nothing like political stability to attract more visitors to that fantastic landscape. I am sure that achieving a proper political settlement in Northern Ireland will boost visitor numbers enormously. My hon. Friend is right. In a recent poll the Antrim coast road was named the fifth most spectacular view in the world. It came higher in the poll than the Grand Canyon—a reflection of the glories of Northern Ireland. A poll in The Guardian placed it second among the best road trips in the world. There is no doubt that there are glories in Northern Ireland that more visitors need to see, and the best way of ensuring that visitor numbers increase is through a stable political situation and devolved government.