THE World Police and Fire Games failed to deliver a boost to retailers in Northern Ireland, according to new research.
Figures from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium said footfall on the region’s high streets fell in August compared to the same month last year.
Thousands of competitors and supporters descended on Belfast for the 10-day colourful sporting festival in mid August.
The month also saw the Fleadh Irish music and dancing festival come to Londonderry.
But it seems neither event was able to deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for traders.
The hospitality industry looked like the main beneficiaries, with Belfast and Derry’s pubs and restaurants getting a shot in the arm.
However, the NIRC figures reveal that footfall on the region’s shopping streets in August was down 1.5% on the same month the year before.
In July, the footfall rose by 3% on the year before.
NIRC director Aodhan Connolly said political leaders needed to act.
“It’s disappointing to see that shopper numbers are down again after showing an encouraging rise in July,” she said.
“Key events like the World Police and Fire Games and the Fleadh in Derry attracted over 400,000 global visitors during the August.
“But despite this major boost to tourism the numbers are back in negative territory, reflecting that our high streets remain in a volatile position.
“Recent months have seen signs of cautious optimism taking hold, but that path to recovery is still fragile.
“There is a need now for definitive action from the NI Executive to ensure the health and growth of a sector that employs almost 10 per cent of the Northern Ireland working population.”