NI Hotels Federation to host major tourism summit

NI Hotels Federation president Stephen Meldrum launches the 'Road to Recovery' tourism summit taking place on Tuesday March 9

THE umbrella body representing the north's hotels sector is planning a major online tourism summit exploring the industry's transition from lockdown.

The NI Hotels Federation will bring tourism providers together for its 'Road to Recovery' event on Tuesday March 9 to consider factors likely to influence consumer psyche and examine how businesses are tailoring their brand offering.

It will feature political and economic insight from experts and updates from the tourism agencies, and the varied panel of speakers - which includes leading travel journalist Simon Calder - will provide an overview of the global picture.

NIHF president Stephen Meldrum said: "The summit is open to all businesses operating within the tourism sector and presents a varied programme which will look at the effects of the pandemic, discuss measures that may be required to support the industry and explore the potential that reopening brings.

"The programme highlights a range of matters that underpin the hospitality and tourism sectors. The lockdowns have been hugely challenging but the stoic nature of the industry has come to the fore.

"Hotels are at the centre of the tourism economy, but in order for them to realise their potential the wider economy must also unlock and consumer confidence must be restored."

Chaired by journalist Mark Simpson, summit delegates will be welcomed by economy minister Diane Dodds, while Gareth Hetherington, director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, will examine the effects of the pandemic on the north's economy.

Other contributions will come from Neil Aulton, head of strategy and insights at Tourism Ireland; Naomi Waite, director of marketing at Tourism NI; Sarah Duignan, director of client relationships at STR; Justin Reid, director of destination marketing (EMEA) at TripAdvisor; Cork-based hotelier Frankie Whelehan; and Professor Robert Kwortnik, from Cornell University's renowned School of Hotel Administration.

The event is open to all businesses, and to register, log on to

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