HC Deb 12 May 1983 vol 42 cc912-3
19. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many foreign tourists have been killed or injured directly as a result of terrorist violence during the past 10 years.

Mr. Prior

Statistics of this nature relating specifically to tourists are not kept, but I can say that, although the security situation will have deterred a number of tourists from visiting Northern Ireland, the overwhelming majority of those who have gone to the Province over the years have had trouble-free holidays. I hope that an increasing number of people will come to learn of the attractions that Northern Ireland can offer to tourists.

Mr. Adley

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that, unfortunately, the American Government cannot say the same thing and that large numbers of foreign visitors to the United States of America fall foul of crime, violence and even murder? While the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, quite properly, cannot make much of a point of this, is my right hon. Friend aware that, from the research that I have made, I have found that visitors to Florida in one year suffer more from violence than visitors to Northern Ireland have suffered in the 10-year period about which I asked in my question?

Mr. Prior

That is valuable information. I know that my hon. Friend will do all that he can to promote the tourist industry in Northern Ireland. It is a very beautiful area and the more people who go there the better.

Mr. Concannon

This is a point that needs stressing. The more people who know how beautiful Northern Ireland is, the better. One has only to go down to Fermanagh to see this. Tourists who go to Northern Ireland are well treated and millions of people are happy there. That point is worth stressing, for the normality of Northern Ireland. Any future Ministers with responsibility for Northern Ireland will have to keep their eyes on the various teams that go across to Northern Ireland, including children's netball teams and so on. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that such teams are probably safer in Northern Ireland than they would be anywhere else in the world?

Mr. Prior

Some 700,000 people came to Northern Ireland last year and I should like to see 1 million this year.

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