Council reveals ambitious plan to become Ireland’s ‘premier tourist destination’

March 13, 2017

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has announced its tourism strategy aimed at positioning the district as the premier, year-round tourist destination in Ireland.

At an event in the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle on Tuesday last, Council Chairperson, Gillian Fitzpatrick, welcomed key agencies and industry representatives where the five-year plan to build the district as a successful tourist destination was presented.

Speaking at the launch Councillor Fitzpatrick said, “Tourism has long been a part of the local industry in our district and is recognised as a key priority in our Corporate Plan and Economic Development Strategy. Our promise of ‘delivering epic moments’ is focused on redefining our visitor destination experience and our three elements of  ‘Mountains, Myths and Maritime’ have been identified as the fundamentals that will deliver a strong and distinctive image for our area.

“The development of new festivals under the Giant Adventures brand, in tandem with established events, is one of the positive steps we took in 2016 to position our area as the premier tourism destination on the island of Ireland.  These festivals embody the scale of our ambition to host world-class epic moments, drawing on our mountains and coastline and those stories unique to us.”

Chairman of Tourism NI, Terence Brannigan said tourism in Northern Ireland is “in a good place” right now and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has shown its commitment to the growth of the industry with the launch of this comprehensive five year strategy.

“Building on the area’s unique beauty, history and culture, I am delighted to see that this strategy focuses on partnership and collaboration and I have no doubt that this will further strengthen the visitor offering for national and international visitors to the local area,” he said.

“Newry, Mourne and Down will be a key region in helping deliver international exposure for Northern Ireland. The delivery of epic moments will help to achieve its targeted growth rate of 6% per annum and grow tourism to a £1 billion export industry by 2025.”

Joe Lindsay from local BBC travel show ‘Getaways’, was a keynote speaker at the event.  He recalled some of his fondest childhood memories were spent in the area.

“I have been coming to the area with my family since I was a child and it holds many of my fondest childhood memories. Newry, Mourne and Down has a unique storybook of cultural heritage and landscapes and it is these assets that visitors will come to experience. By helping visitors make memories for years to come they will stay longer, spend more and come back again and again. I hope they take away some of the same special memories I did,” he said.

Recognising its ambitious targets for the next five years, the Council is wasting no time in introducing two new visitor experience plans, which will commence next month. The key themes the plans address will unify the destination experience and focus on ways of invigorating existing activities, while also helping to identify the role that individual businesses can take in delivering experiences.

The Council is running a series of workshops during April for anyone interested in finding out how they can support local tourism and capitalise on businesses opportunities. Further information on these workshops is available from Council Visitor Information Centres.