Northern Ireland's Plan

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An important piece of tourism legislation is slated to be put forward this month by the Northern Ireland Assembly. It will be a measure to create one public entity to handle international tourism marketing for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The initiative is one of many projects that will be formed as a result of the peace plan brokered almost a year ago.

As envisioned by the Northern Ireland Department of Economic Development, the entity will conduct business that can prove helpful to travel agents. It will, among other things, provide market research, conduct surveys and collect relevant visitor statistics. Those are all areas that help shape the development of tourism products and shed light on the best ways to sell them.

The Northern Ireland peace plan is not without its problems, and there is no guarantee that things will move forward as planned. Like all regions that emerge from varying degrees of chaos, its future is in the hands of leaders who must act responsibly and with a keen awareness of the needs of their former enemies.

Last year, I heard Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams give a speech at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. He said, in his heavy Gaelic accent, that he was after three things: "fray-dum, joos-tis and pace." Or, freedom, justice and peace. Others involved in the plan are seeking the same things. Here's hoping they find them.

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