Stakes are high for Northern Ireland's reputation
The stakes are high for Northern Ireland's reputation abroad as the marching season comes to a head.
Security concerns over a number of Orange Order parades on the 12th July have left tourist chiefs holding their breath.
Violent clashes involving dissident republican protesters in north Belfast last year, and also in 2010, were a reminder that there are still times when violence flares in Northern Ireland despite the peace process.
Northern Ireland has enjoyed unprecedented positive headlines around the world in recent months, starting with the successful staging of the MTV awards at the end of last year.
A global audience of up to a billion viewers watched as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars got the people of Belfast screaming for all the right reasons.
Since then there has been the opening of the £100m Titanic visitor attraction, the two-day Queen's Diamond Jubilee visit, the opening of the new Giant's Causeway tourist centre and the staging of the Irish Open golf tournament in Northern Ireland for the first time in 50 years.
All the events passed off with barely a hitch. The royal visit and the golf tournament required major policing operations but there were no incidents of any note.
The golf attracted more than 100,000 spectators to Portrush, County Antrim, but there were only two arrests.
The focus is now on Londonderry, as it prepares to celebrate its year as UK City of Culture next year. Already the city has staged a number of festivals which have attracted international visitors.World map
Gradually, Northern Ireland is changing its face to the world, and establishing itself as a tourism hot spot rather than a conflict zone.
More than 1.4m visitors from overseas came last year, which was a 4% increase on the previous year. More than 50 cruise ships are expected to dock in Belfast next year, bringing an estimated 107,000 people from all over the world.
The tourism drive is being pushed by a publicity campaign entitled NI 2012: Our Time, Our Place.
According to the campaign website, the aim is "to turn the tide and confidently put Northern Ireland on the global tourism map".
The danger is that disturbances during the marching season would turn back the clock rather than turn the tide.
However, the truth is that the tension exists in only a small number of areas. It is likely that the vast majority of Northern Ireland will be unaffected, even if tensions boil over.
If they don't, it would be a major boost to Northern Ireland's reputation abroad, and further evidence of the outbreak of normality.