Friday, 2 November 2007

Tourist buses attacked in West Belfast

No obvious example occurs to me where a city other than Belfast presents its least salubrious areas as a tourist attraction.

Because violence and crime in this country have long been spuriously politicised, the areas which produce most violence and crime have become those which tourists on their voyeuristic troubles tours wish to see.

Political tourism in other countries may mean a visit to the Berlin Wall, or the Reichstag, or indeed the Kremlin. Meanwhile in Belfast political tourism involves a bus-trip up the Falls and the Shankill.

And if this is the typw of tourism attraction we encourage visitors to enjoy, why should anyone be surprised when this happens?

If Northern Ireland, and Belfast in particular, spent more time and effort attempting to increase the options for tourists here and selling the positive attractions the province has, we would not need to take tourists up the Falls Road in the first place!

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