Video: Bombings do force some cancellations, says Dunne

The director of Visit Derry, Odhran Dunne, has admitted bookings at hotels, B&Bs and guest houses took a hit after the ‘IRA’ exploded a car bomb in the city centre in January.

And the persistence of sporadic violent actions by republican groups remains a serious concern for the sector, the local tourism chief acknowledged.

The wreckage of an exploded car bomb in Derry city centre in January.

The wreckage of an exploded car bomb in Derry city centre in January.

But the industry tends to recover much quicker to bombing incidents now than was formerly the case, noted Mr. Dunne.

The Visit Derry boss was asked about the January bomb attack and its effect on local tourism by the Labour MP, Kate Hoey, when he was providing evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s tourism inquiry on Wednesday.

“A few months ago you had that bomb that went off in the centre of Londonderry,” noted the Mallusk-born MP for Vauxhall.

“Do you find an immediate reaction or, on the whole, any of the terrorist activity in the past number of years, has it made any difference to the tourism numbers?” she asked.

Mr. Dunne said hoteliers and guest house operators did have to deal with cancellations on some occasions.

“We continue to monitor it on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes in the immediate aftermath, in the few days we see cancellations in some of the hotels,” he said.

“It seems to rebound much quicker than it would have done years ago but, yes, it remains a concern in trying to send positive messages and positive ‘PR’ into the international market place.”

The wreckage of an exploded car bomb in January.