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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

“The best is yet to come” for tourism in Mid & East Antrim!

 

The next few years will be crucial in further developing and strengthening Mid and East Antrim’s tourism offering – that was the message at a recent event hosted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council at Magheramorne Estate for local tourism and hospitality professionals.

 

The event brought together industry representatives from within both Whitehead & Islandmagee and Glenarm & Carnlough, to showcase a range of newly developed experiences in the area.

 


The event also highlighted the impact in the Borough of DAERA’s Pilot Rural Tourism Collaborative Experiences Programme and Tourism NI’s COVID Recovery Market Led Product Development Programme, both delivered in partnership with Council.  

 

Councillor Beth Adger MBE, Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, told guests that developing Mid and East Antrim’s tourism economy is one of Council’s key strategic priorities, alongside growing the economy.

 

“Supporting local businesses is crucial for Council and we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to do so, ensuring that everyone can take advantage of the opportunities within our tourism and hospitality industry.  

 


“We have made hugely encouraging progress in ‘building back’ in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the next few years will be crucial to further develop and strengthen Mid and East Antrim’s visitor and tourism offering.  

 

“Based on the exceptional calibre of our local accommodation, hospitality and experience providers, I think we have every reason to be confident that the best is yet to come.”

 

The Deputy Mayor said that industry collaboration will be key to building on recent successes.



“Today, we focused on how collaboration within the industry to develop the destination offering will be key to attracting more visitors from far and wide to Mid and East Antrim - encouraging them to stay longer, repeat their visits more often and put us on the global stage.”

 

Among the raft of newly developed products highlighted at the event was The Arkle Whiskey Bar experiences, the Dalriada Legends storytellers, Whitehead Railway Museum’s murder mystery entertainment and vintage afternoon tea experiences and the Whitehead E-Bike hire and tours with Pedals to Places.

 

“Each of these experiences is already attracting highvisitor demand,” the Deputy Mayor continued.  “It is clear that such investment in strengthening and delivering new and improved exciting experiences, aligned to Northern Ireland’s tourism brand – ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ – will draw more visitors to Mid and East Antrim and wider Northern Ireland.”

 


David Roberts, Director of Strategic Development at Tourism NI commented,

 

"Tourism NI is delighted to have supported so many Mid and East Antrim tourism businesses through our recent ‘COVID Recovery Market Led Product Development Programme’.


"Working closely with colleagues in Mid and East Antrim Council, our investment of over £260k has successfully provided support for the local tourism industry to work together to develop new and exciting tourism projects aligned to the ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ brand. Tourism NI funding has allowed individual businesses to explore new markets and pricing strategies in order to adapt to the post-Covid business environment.

 

"I am delighted that participants are experiencing high levels of demand for their products as a result of the programme."

 

Speaking about the investment, Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots said:


“I am very pleased my department could help support this very worthy tourism project for Mid and East Antrim through the Pilot Rural Tourism Collaborative Experiences programme. The potential that there is in this area and the breadth of the local talent we have here in Northern Ireland. This project demonstrates what the funding can do to showcase rural businesses at both a local and international level, in providing unique offerings to attract visitors to these areas.

 

“Tourism is vitally important to our rural economy and the competitive nature of the tourism marketplace, over the next few years, cannot be underestimated.  A strong spirit of collaboration is building across the tourism sector to jointly create visitor experiences that are accessible, bookable and compelling, offering long-term sustainability and growth to tourism in Northern Ireland.  I wish this project every success going forward.”

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