The recent success of Irishman Rory McIllroy in the U.S. Open could help to stimulate golf travel to the region, said Northen Ireland Tourism Minister Arlene Foster in an interview with Inside Ireland.
"The recent success of current US Open Champion Rory McIlroy, and of Graeme McDowell before him, has generated a global interest in Northern Ireland and on our golf offering here," said Foster, speaking at the PGA EuroPro tournament, which took place at Galgorm Castle. "Promoting our golf offering to an international audience and capitalising on the current global interest in Northern Ireland golf will help grow tourism here to a £1 billion industry by the end of the decade," she added.
According to the BBC, Northern Ireland's visitor figures fell by 300,000 to 1.7 million in 2010. However, Foster is confident that McIllroy's victory will not only increase golf travel to Northern Ireland, but also stimulate tourism in general. The Executive's Programme for Government has issued a target of 2.5 million visitors in 2011.
The news outlet further reported that Foster claimed that the time for planning was over, and that the time for delivery was here.