Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Lack of finances down Portrush air show

Portrush air show (picture by Jonny Bingham)
The air show is one of the biggest events in the area's tourist season

One of the biggest tourist events on Northern Ireland's north coast has fallen victim to the economic downturn.

The International Air Show in Portrush attracts up to 200,000 visitors each year, but is has been cancelled for the first time this year.

Coleraine Borough Council normally contributes about £70,000 to £80,000 to the event and the rest comes from corporate sponsors.

However, sponsors have reduced their contributions this year.

Coleraine Deputy Mayor William King said lack of finances had been the key reason why the show could not be held.

'Disappointing'

"The council has been busy over the last few weeks striking a rate for this year and we have looked at cutting several aspects, and the air show was one of them," he said.

"There was also the disappointing factor that sponsorship was not going to be available in the large quantity it has been and the economic downturn has meant a lot to it."

Mr King admitted the decision was likely to affect visitor numbers and said the show had been a "a real climax to the tourism season".

"This was a very, very close decision," he said

"We had a very big subject as well as that, which was the lifeguards on the beaches and we decided to protect that rather than the air show because there could have been a serious loss of life there (on the beaches)."

The council hopes the show will return in 2011.

"I think it'll definitely be back, I think it will come again and it could be bigger and better than ever," Mr King said.



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