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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Balfour (Local Democracy Reporter)

“Tremendous” long-term plan to grow tourism and create 2,500 jobs across Causeway Coast & Glens

Portrush from above

Image: Murray Bell

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Councillors were presented with a “tremendous” long-term plan to grow tourism in the area, by extending the tourist year beyond the summer season.

At the Council’s Leisure and Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 20, Causeway Connections co-founder, David Evans, highlighted the company’s aims in “bringing economic development to all areas and people of this council area”.

Plans include the creation of “signature attractions”, such as a golf course at Magilligan, a US Presidents centre in north Antrim, a Causeway gallery, and a birdlife centre. Funding would be provided by the council, philanthropists and investors.

With these attractions, Causeway Connections hopes to increase the number tourists from Great Britain and the USA, throughout the entire calendar year, and create around 2,500 “good quality jobs”.

Mr Evans said: “We compared data for the area with data from Galway and Cornwall – areas with similar weather and beautiful beaches – on multiple points like the number of hotels, museums and galleries.

“The reason we have fewer four and five star hotels compared to those areas is that we have such a short season. It’s basically a summer season with no signature indoor attractions.”

“So there is serious opportunity here to increase the number of visitors and the length of time they stay for. We want to do for this area what Titanic Centre has done for Belfast; an anchor point from which hoteliers can invest from.

“On a wet day in Causeway Coast and Glens, there’s no significant indoor arena that a visitor can go to.

“You can’t go to [Bushmills] Distillery because it has to be pre-booked, so there’s no indoor centre in this whole area, at a significant scale, that visitors can look around.”

Mr Evans concluded: “There is tremendous value to be delivered, and jobs to be created in the area, by taking a more proactive approach to tourism.”


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