TOURISM Minister Arlene Foster has admitted she has had no direct dealings with Foyle anglers in recognition of their efforts to boost the number of overseas fishing enthusiasts west of the Bann.
She also revealled that fewer people are now visting the area to fish. Between 2010 and 2011 the amount of money spent by tourists who fished whilst in Northern Ireland collapsed from £6.1m to £2.9m.
She was asked what level of support her Department provides to the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA) to promote touristm.
She stated: “To date my department has had no direct dealings with FASTA. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) can offer support in promoting events and activities that are ‘tourism focused’ on www.discovernorthernireland.com.”
The Minister also outlined the dramatic collapse in angling revenue over recent years.
She advised: “In terms of an assessment of benefits of angling for tourism west of the Bann, research shows that there is a downturn in estimated spend by direct Great Britain and overseas visitors who participated in angling during their stay in Northern Ireland, from £6.1m in 2010 to £2.9million in 2011, which is due to fewer people participating in angling.
“The number of direct GB and overseas visitors who participated in angling in 2011 was 45 per cent less compared with 2010.
“Those who participated in angling during their stay in 2011 also spent on average 11 per cent or £49 less per trip compared with 2010.
She explained that NITB works closely with Tourism Ireland to host press trips for angling journalists and liaises with the many government agencies who have responsibility for angling.”