Hotels and all tourism accommodation in Northern Ireland are to reopen on July 20.
The Northern Irish Department for the Economy announced yesterday plans to allow hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and hostels to welcome back guests from next month, with Minister Diane Dodds stressing she wants to ‘reopen the tourism industry in a safe and managed way’.
She also said that the opening of holiday and home parks, caravan sites, self-catering properties may be brought forward, depending on scientific advice, as they are self-contained and may require less advance notice before opening.
The Tourism Steering Group will be asked to work with the sector to explore what facilities and amenities can safely be made available by hotels and recommendations will be brought to the Executive in due course.
The Group and its supporting Working Group, will take relevant UK safe working guidance and make it specific to NI as overarching tourism sector guidance.
A safety charter mark is also being considered.
Minister Dodds said: “I believe the time is right to provide the tourist accommodation sector with clarity about opening dates.
“I want to build upon the positive progress in managing the spread of the virus and begin to re-open our tourism industry in a safe and managed way.”
The Minister did stress, however, that progress on re-opening will depend on controlling the rate of transmission of the virus.
Further work is underway to assess the potential to re-open pubs and restaurants and all other parts of the tourism sector.