Councillor Humphrey was speaking at the launch of Orangefest at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road – on Monday night, June 28, at 7.15pm.
Councillor Humphrey said:
“Orangefest at the Spectrum Centre is now in its second year and is funded by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland. It is an important addition to the main Boyne celebrations in Belfast and compliments them in every way.
“The Twelfth is the city’s largest event with more than 250,000 people taking part or watching.
“Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Belfast economy and 50% of visitors are cultural tourists. It is a huge market worldwide and Orangeism is a significant part of our product.
“Under-funding for the Twelfth is an issue and greater resources must be provided to expand Orangefest and develop the product and maximise the visitor numbers.
“We hope that people will appreciate the significance of Orangeism. Diversity is an opportunity and strength. Tolerance and acceptance must be the norm in building a society in Northern Ireland at peace with itself.”
Orangefest at the Spectrum runs from June 28 to July 10 and this year will concentrate on performance and musical concert events. Bready Pipe Band, Ballyclare Victoria and Ballyduff Silver will carry the headline band concerts. Risin Stour and the Ulser Scots Experience feature in cultural concerts.
Backing this up will be recitals from the UVF Regimental Band (East Belfast), the Shankill Road Defenders, the Pride of the Raven and Blue Star Accordion. There will also be drama, highland dancing and workshops on tartans and drum making.