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.