Attractions industry news

10 Feb 2020

City council wrangles cause robust debate on Belfast Zoo's future

The future nature of Belfast Zoo is uncertain after a motion was tabled by a city councillor to phase out the display of caged animals and return the animals "to their natural habitats". However, the motion also envisaged transforming the zoo into a "world-class visitor attraction by 2025".

Councillor Conor Maskey of Sinn Fein put forward the motion at a Belfast City Council meeting held on Monday 3 February. It proposed that the zoo should instead become a conservation centre for indigenous animals and gave a commitment to secure all existing jobs.

Reported in the Belfast Telegraph, the statement went on: "The ratepayers of this city have to subsidise the zoo to the sum of £2.5m (US$3.2m, €3m) per year. The savings from the zoo site could provide substantial funding for the much-needed regeneration of the city, create jobs and opportunities, and attract more visitors.

"The five-year transitional period will enable the council to safely return animals to their natural habitats in a carefully crafted phased approach."

However, there was criticism of the motion from rival political groups on the city council, as well as from trades unions and animal welfare bodies. Among the more than 600 animals kept at Belfast Zoo is a pride of Barbary Lions, which no longer exist in the wild.

Councillor George Dorrian of the DUP said that while he was concerned that the zoo was loss-making, it required more investment and the creation of a wider outdoor activity leisure park to enhance it.

"We cannot support this Sinn Fein proposal to, effectively, close the zoo. The statement by Sinn Fein is a gross misrepresentation, writing about 'caged animals', and lacks reality by proposing to 'return animals to their natural habitats'.

"It fails to recognise the important role of Belfast Zoo in education and in international breeding programmes for both indigenous and rare and endangered species."

A statement from The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, reported by ITV News, referred to Belfast Zoo's "impressive" record on conservation, and said that reintroducing the animals to the wild would result in "unavoidably high" mortality rates – perhaps up to 70 per cent. It added that the Sinn Fein plans showed "no understanding of these principles and outline no intention of engaging with experts in the field".

In response to these reactions, Councillor Maskey said: "This was never about closing the zoo, it was about properly investing in the site to ensure we are in keeping with a modern and ethical approach to the city and the animals and don't burden the ratepayer."

He added, however, that the party would discuss amending the motion before it is referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee later this month.

<< Back

News powered by

Pinewood Studios, home to James Bond and Star Wars, set to house major visitor attraction

The UK's best-known film studio, used for the filming of blockbusters such as the James Bond and Star Wars franchises, is set to house a major new visitor attraction. [more...]

Bletchley Park and Eltham Palace's immersive LGBTQ+ show among winners of UK Heritage Awards

The home of British codebreaking, Bletchley Park has been named among the winners of this year's UK Heritage Awards – alongside an immersive performance charting LGBTQ+ heritage. [more...]

Therme Group announces development plans to roll out wellbeing resorts across UK

Following approval to build a £250mn wellbeing resort in Manchester, Therme Group has revealed plans to develop and expand its concept in other major UK cities. [more...]

COVID-19 stimulus package – VAT cut for hospitality, companies to get apprenticeship funding

The hospitality and attractions sectors will benefit from a temporary cut to VAT as part of stimulus measures announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak. [more...]

Eureka! reveals new designs for Eureka! Mersey – construction to begin in 2021

New concept designs and visuals have been released for the Eureka! Mersey project – a £11.75m children's visitor attraction being developed in Liverpool, UK. [more...]

Thermal project set to ‘redefine city wellbeing’ on track for 2023 opening

Global wellbeing organisation, Therme Group, has confirmed its 28-acre wellbeing project in the UK is on track to begin construction. [more...]

In brief:

Cultural Renewal Taskforce launched to get sector up and running @DCMS @AlexScott @neilfmendoza @Marthalanefox #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Culture #Leisure #DCMS [more...]
EU launches plan to refloat 'vibrant European tourism ecosystem'@EU_Commission @TourismsVoice @tourismsociety #Tourism #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Travel #Beach #CityBreak [more...]
MPs write to chancellor demanding more support for tourism and hospitality @UKHofficial @RishiSunak #Tourism #Hospitality #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Lockdown #hotels #Pubs [more...]
Tourism Society emergency meeting addresses impact of delayed lockdown on tourism industry @tourismsociety @TourismsVoice [more...]
Tourism industry must lead and inspire, says Ken Robinson @tourismsociety @TourismsVoice [more...]
Farewell Lord Bath. Longleat Safari Park visionary dies from COVID-19 @longleat [more...]
London Transport Museum goes digital (and gives special offers on its amazing socks @bernarddonoghue) @ltmuseum [more...]
Mary Rose Museum faces £2.2m funding shortfall as chief calls for increased independent museum support during COVID-19 crisis @MaryRoseMuseum [more...]
British Museum appoints Mary Beard to as trustee following government veto over EU stance [more...]
More news from>>
<< Back