Hospitality Ulster welcomes backing of Tourism NI on liquor licensing campaign

John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI

Hospitality Ulster welcomes backing of Tourism NI on liquor licensing campaign

21 March 2016

Hospitality Ulster has welcomed the backing from Tourism Northern Ireland on its campaign to push the NI Assembly to bring forward the Liquor Licensing Bill in a bid to update the legislation here.

The support comes at a critical time for the industry and adds to the growing list of business and tourist organisations that are supporting the modernisation of liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland.

John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism Northern Ireland said:

“We support the campaign to modernise the liquor licensing legislation as it is now becoming a major issue for the tourism industry. We cannot expect the hospitality sector to be operating to legislation that is no longer fit for purpose.”


“Easter is a crucial period for the tourism industry however the restrictive conditions mean that the hospitality sector cannot meet the expectations of many of our visitors who expect to experience a vibrant night time economy over the bank holiday weekend.”

“We operate in a very competitive marketplace and we urgently need to modernise our licensing legislation otherwise people may choose not to visit Northern Ireland.”

“Tourism NI would encourage the NI Assembly to bringing this Bill forward as soon as is practically possible.”


Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster added:

“We welcome the significant weight that the support of Tourism NI gives to our campaign to modernise the liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland. Outdated liquor licensing here is such a significant barrier in allowing the sector to compete for visitors.”

“We are way behind in terms of being able to offer tourists the full experience as the liquor licensing legislation is outdated and not fit for the modern marketplace. The evidence is there to prove it - we are getting more tourists but the overall spend is down.”

“Tourism NI has identified that modernising the liquor licensing laws will play a key role in achieving the future growth targets and enhancing what we currently have on offer. Evidence shows that one of the main things that tourists seek when then come to Northern Ireland is a visit to a pub for the authentic food and drink experience.”

“Imagine the positive marketing impact that a new modern licensing regime Northern Ireland could have. It would be a very strong message to send out to the world that we take our hospitality sector seriously and, in turn, make sure our visitors have a good time.”