DUP alderman claims tourists are being given 'misinformation' while visiting Derry's walls
TOURISTS visiting the Derry Walls are being told by some tour guides that Catholics are not welcome in the Memorial Hall in Society Street, a DUP councillor has claimed.
Alderman Graham Warke made his remarks as Derry City and Strabane District Council's business and culture committee agreed a new arrangement with Visit Derry to increase annual spending on tourism from £410,000 to £693,175.
In voicing concerns about the level of increase in the funding Mr Warke claimed that some of the information being given to tourists during organised tours had left him 'worried'.
"The story these tour guides are coming out with is absolute rubbish," he said.
"People are visiting the city of Londonderry and are being told a rubbish story and being told that Catholics aren't welcome in the Memorial Hall.
"This is something that needs looked at."
However Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper, who acts as a tour guide trainer, said: "Every tour guide will have their own version of the story. Any guide I have trained will have all the relevant information at their fingertips."
The SDLP's Shauna Cusack said: "Everyone has their own version of history but giving a false view does not reflect well on our city."
The council's tourism manager Aideen McCarter told the committee that Visit Derry would be happy to take feedback on tour guides, even though they were not their direct responsibility.
"Qualified tours of the Walls, in particular, is an action we will pursue in the next few years through our tourism strategy," she said.
Ms McCarter told the committee that the increase in funding was necessary to deliver the key roles of Destination Marketing and Visitor Servicing, which included the management of the Visitor Information Centre in Foyle Street in the city.