Video: Derry hotel lobby chief says industry has to get on with it despite stalemate at Stormont
The Derry woman who heads up the NI Hotels Federation has said the industry has to get on with trading, despite the political vacuum in the North.
Janice Gault said she felt an absence of ministerial direction meant civil servants were reluctant to make difficult decisions on matters affecting the industry.
However, she said hoteliers were undeterred and expected to have invested £600m by the end of this year.
She told the NI Affairs Committee: “It’s very easy to hide behind you have no minister so, if we’ve no minister we can’t do anything. That means when something comes up that is even vaguely contentious it just simply doesn’t happen.
“But we are at a stage, hotels at the end of this year will probably have invested in the region of £600m. We recognise we just have to get on with it. It’s just really that simple.
"We think that having Stormont makes it a lot easier but in the interim period you’ve just got to continue to trade.”
She identified a skills shortage across a hugely expanded sector as a key snag.
“The biggest single factor we have is skills. It’s the biggest issue. People and skills. In order to change that we really need changes to be made in the education curriculum from primary school up. Changes made in secondary and also the image of the industry changed.”