As the demi-gods prepare to swoop amongst us from the skies, this excerpt from a letter in today’s Irish Times:
“ In the longer term, the summit will bring worldwide attention to this beautiful corner of north west Ireland and will undoubtedly lead to it becoming an ever more popular international tourism destination.”
Now where have I heard that argument before? Ah yes, when the Queen of England descended among the lucky people of the south of Ireland, charming them into even further trouser-wetting admiration when she used a few words of Irish. A central argument used against the nay-sayers at the time was that her visit would give an enormous boost to tourism. Which sounded like a good argument until the figures came in and showed that fewer people from Britain visited the south in the wake of QE2’s visit.
So whither Fermanagh? Search me. (Which of course is what the small army of security will be doing down there to anyone who comes within miles of the demi-gods.) Maybe Americans will look at Obama with a backdrop of Fermanagh and cry out “I will, I must visit this amazing place chosen by President Obama! If it’s good enough for him it’s good enough for me”. It could happen. On the other hand the weather plays a big part in these things. The BBC’s Newsline 630 yesterday had their anchorwoman Donna down there and despite her best efforts, it looked awful. Rain soaking everything, including the camera lens; Donna’s hair going all damp and limp; and the lakes, no doubt stunning on a good day, looking grey and choppy and decidedly uninviting.
My money’s on the demi-gods’ visit making no difference to tourism. What’s yours on?