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The Northern Ireland Tourist Board faces further cuts to its advertising budget in a move it fears will hit visitor numbers.

The tourist board says it is being asked to reduce advertising spend by a further 20% in each of the next two years following a £1 million reduction.

The budget for this year is £2.6 million, falling to £1.7 million in 2015.

Around 80% of the NITB’s TV and media advertising budget is spent in the Republic of Ireland.

Last year’s Our Time, Our Place campaign – hinged on the centenary of the Titanic – was viewed as a success by the industry, contributing to an objective of growing visitor numbers to 4.2 million by 2015.

However, NITB board minutes reflect it is now significantly concerned that progress could be undermined, according to a report today.

The planned advertising reductions “present a significant risk to achieving targets under the programme for government,” the NITB told the BBC.

It has lobbied tourism minister Arlene Foster and urged a rethink.

NI Hotels Federation chief executive Janice Gault said: “Without a strong promotional campaign we might not be able to compete. I do not think people in the industry understand the rationale behind this.”