TOURISM Minister Arlene Foster has come under fire over a lack of accommodation for next year’s World Police and Fire Games.
UUP Economy spokeswoman Sandra Overend has warned the Minister needs to buck up her ideas if she is to sort out the problem with just nine months to spare.
The UUP MLA stormed: ““The World Police and Fire Games is coming to Belfast in August next year, but at present there seems to be a lack of coherent strategy in the planning for the arrival of thousands of more people to the Province.
“The planning behind finding somewhere to stay for those thousands seems to be a bit ‘last minute’ considering there are only 9 months to go before the opening ceremony.
“I asked Arlene Foster about this very issue on 22 October in Stormont, and although her response was that they would work to ensure that those who came to Belfast would have a quality experience, she seems to have forgotten to act on those words.
“It would be an absolute shame if there weren’t enough places for the athletes and their families and friends to stay.”
The MLA said the past year had been a massive boost for tourism in Northern Ireland with the Irish Open and the openin of Titanic Belfast.
But she added: “2012 really did live up to our expectations.
“However, we must now look to the future to ensure that Northern Ireland remains a destination that is attractive to tourists.
“If we fail to make a success of the World Police and Fire Games then we may undo all the successful work that was done to promote Northern Ireland in 2012.
“Let us hope that this major problem can be sorted out quickly, so that we can get on with planning, enjoying and reaping the rewards from a successful World Police and Fire Games in Belfast for 2013 and beyond.”