The tourism industry North and South has expressed concern after the UK announced the roll out of a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme for foreign visitors.

People legally resident in Ireland will be exempt from the requirement, but there is concern about the impact the measure will have on cross-border tourism.

Yesterday, the UK announced the roll out of An Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme for foreign visitors taking short trips to the UK.

The border control measure was a key Brexit promise and is due to come into force by the end of 2024.

Following intensive lobbying from the Irish Government, all those legally resident in Ireland will be exempt, meaning non-Irish nationals living here will be able to travel freely to the North or other parts of the UK.

But tourists travelling to Ireland who want to go to Northern Ireland will be required to have an ETA.

Those involved in cross-border tourism say that will be a logistical nightmare.

Group Operations Director at Pierce Kavanagh Coaches Caoimhe Moloney-Kavanagh said she fears it will impact on their business.

She said: "Over 70% of our tourist stay in northern for a quarter or a third of their time on the island of ireland so we really think this is going to affect us"

Ms Moloney-Kavanagh also said that there is a lack of awareness among some tourists from North America that they are travelling in two different jurisdictions.

She said: "Unfortunately some of our guests when they come here, they don't even realise that there's a different currency between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So its going to create a huge level of bureaucracy for the American tour operators."

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Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance CEO Joanne Stuart said they were very disappointed that cross-border tourism hasn't received an exemption.

She said 70% of visitors to Northern Ireland come via Ireland.

Ms Stuart said: "We have a lot of spontaneous visits so when people decide to come up for the weekend of the day. What we've heard, in the rules that have been laid out already, is that it can take up to three working days to process the application."

She also said there was concern that if people hear there are difficulties travelling around the island they may not come to Ireland

The Irish Government said its welcomes the UK's decision to exempt Irish residents from the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme and the fact that it will not operate routine immigration checks on the land border with Northern Ireland.

But it said it is aware of the risk it poses to the all Ireland tourism economy and will continue to engage ith the UK in this regard.