Holiday at Home Voucher Scheme

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 6 December 2021.

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Photo of Gordon Lyons Gordon Lyons DUP 2:30, 6 December 2021

That is exactly why I wanted to bring in the scheme. I knew that it would create a significant economic boost. We are seeing the huge impact that the £100 cards in the high street scheme are having on our high streets. The holiday at home voucher scheme would have been a little bit different. It would have been open to everyone, but would have required public financing, as well as people using their money. That would have been a really good way to boost the economy and keep the hospitality sector and hotels, in particular, going during the really difficult months of January, February and March.

I have, however, managed to secure an additional £6·5 million of funding in order to enable Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland to undertake significant additional marketing to promote our tourism offer in Great Britain and internationally during the remainder of the financial year. I hope that, to some extent, that will help those businesses that are struggling in that way.

It has been estimated that around £1·6 million of the high street scheme expenditure has been on accommodation providers and tourist attractions, so I hope that, in some way, it has given that little bit of support. However, I am very disappointed that I was not able to secure support for what could have been beneficial measures during a really difficult time.