Council’s launches new tourism strategy

February 16, 2010

Newry and Mourne District Council combined the launch of its Tourism Strategy with a successful master class event at Bagenal’s Castle.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council, John Feehan said ‘In launching the Tourism Strategy for Newry and Mourne an ideal opportunity existed to bring the sector together and provide invaluable information from a range of tourism professionals which could help grow the tourism providers business.

Gerard McGivern, Director of District Development summarised some of the achievements arising from the last strategy and challenges the new strategy will bring.  Substantial progress had been made on implementing the last strategy and on improving the tourism offering in Newry and Mourne.  Some notable achievements achieved through a partnership approach include, completion of Bagenal’s Castle, which is now home to Newry Tourism Information Centre, Newry and Mourne Museum and Copper Cafe.  Plans are progressing for the development of a marina in Warrenpoint, a range of routes have been opened up in south Armagh and The Mournes, the most significant being the Mourne Way and Ring fo Gullion Way.  A range of other investments and achievements have taken place across the district which have contributed significantly to improving Newry and Mourne as a tourism destination.

The Council’s new tourism strategy is very focusing on continuing to improve the product offering and key attractions like The Mournes, Ring of Gullion, Coastal and Inland waterways, local culture, retail and city breaks and Christian Heritage.

In implementing the priorities, Council will seek to continue to work with key partners such as NITB, neighbouring councils on both sides of the border and the tourism sector.  The Newry and Mourne region is in the fortunate position to be involved in 2 of the 5 Northern Ireland Signature Projects provide an unrivalled position for Newry and Mourne to capitalise on being part of a national project to attract visitors to Northern Ireland.

The strategy has been developed in consultation with the local tourism sector and successful implementation will require partnership working.  In launching the strategy the Council felt it provided a forum to bring the sector together and provide some information which would help the sector compete, grow their business and stimulate innovation.

The well represented tourism sector had an opportunity to hear from Brian Harte – Tourism Ireland on how they could get involved in Tourism Ireland’s marketing campaign and local business woman Irene Adair MBE who has played an active and strategic role in the development of local and national tourism through her involvement in a wide spectrum of town bodies, provided an invaluable insight into the importance of good customer care and hospitality  The session concluded very aptly with an insight into online marketing from Niall McKeown ION Technologies.