Ulster Unionist Councillor Alan Lewis has expressed concern that the 2022 festival of flight isn’t going ahead, saying that Council must move to set aside fears and confirm that the festival will return in 2023.
Cllr Lewis says “For this past two years council has been unable to deliver a tourism events programme due to the impact of Covid 19. Although the possible impact of future Covid variants is difficult to predict, it is hoped that larger scale events can resume this summer. This will be a welcome boost to residents and the local trade and hospitality sectors.
“Council research indicates that almost £10 Million was generated in 2019 for the district as a direct result of tourism events. Therefore, it is bitterly disappointing that this year’s festival of flight will not be going ahead. The income generated is a welcome boost to traders in the town and benefits our collective tourism industry across South Down, we must not underestimate the huge draw of this annual festival”
“I note that officers have said that throughout this past 12 months they had continued to engage with key stakeholders including the RAF. It was advised that due to challenges planning the festival, securing air assets and the uncertainty of the pandemic that it has not been possible to host the festival of flight this year”
“ I have been contacted by many enthusiasts who are bitterly disappointed, I fail to see how the event couldn’t have at least been planned for later in the year, now that we know the majority of restrictions are to be lifted?”
“ I ask that council move to alleviate fears by confirming that the festival of flight hasn’t be shelved, every effort must be made to ensure this wonderful attraction be returned to Newcastle as it has been annually for this last twelve years”