I asked the Minister of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect on Northern Ireland’s economy of hosting the 2019 Open Championship. He said that, as a former Tourism Minister, he is delighted that in July the Open Championship is making an historic return to Northern Ireland after 68 years. The Minister further explained that Tourism Northern Ireland expects up to 190,000 spectators will attend the event at the Royal Portrush golf club and estimates that the benefit to the Northern Ireland economy will be £80 million. Tourism in Northern Ireland is going from strength to strength, and during the first quarter of 2018, visitors spent an unprecedented £180 million. With Northern Ireland being such a key part of our United Kingdom, this positive trend is extremely good news!
I then asked what steps the Minister is taking to capitalise on this top international sporting event to promote Northern Irish tourism and showcase business opportunities further. He explained that he is urging businesses to use the event as a huge marketing opportunity. A topical question on Masters week!