Hospitality Ulster - the organisation which has developed from Pubs of Ulster representing pubs, restaurants and hotels - has said that the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland has the potential to create up to 5,000 new jobs in the next 10 years.
That would bring the number of people employed in the food and drink element of the hospitality sector to around 50,000.
Speaking at the launch of Hospitality Ulster, CEO Colin Neill said: “Despite the loss of jobs during the economic downturn and sluggish growth recently, we now have the opportunity to really improve upon a sector which has so much promise.
“Weak projected growth over the next decade is growth nonetheless and it is up to us to bring forward a solution to buck the forecast estimates.”
Hospitality Ulster will represent the entire sector under one umbrella membership organisation and will provide a range of support services and resources such as legal advice, updates on regulation changes, property information and accountancy issues among others.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: “Hospitality Ulster is a very welcome development and one which I feel will strengthen the voice of the entire industry.
Finance Minister Arlene Foster said: “The rebranding, refocusing and launch of Hospitality Ulster will help to drive the long-term strategic direction of the sector and its focus on excellence will pay dividends for its members, the wider industry and the local economy.”