Mid and East Antrim Borough Council approves £31,500 tourism spend

The entrance to Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-43-709-con
The entrance to Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-43-709-con

MEA Borough Council’s Policy and Resources Committee has approved a council spend of £31,500 on tourism literature and promotional items.

At a meeting on October 19, a council report revealed that stocks of tourism literature from the legacy councils are low and that in some cases the information in them is “obsolete”.

The report stated that from January onwards the council would need to produce some Mid and East Antrim-branded literature in advance of the adoption of the tourism strategy for the new council area, which is due to be completed by March 2016.

The report proposed the production of two tourism information documents for the borough: an accomodation guide and a visitor guide.

The production of a branded template for other literature was also proposed.

The proposal included around £5,000 for the design, production and a print run of 20,000 copies of an accommodation guide; around £12,500 for the design, production and a print run of 20,000 copies of the visitor guide; and around £5000 for six pop up stands and promotional items for use at tourism events, venues and exhibitions.

Also proposed was a a borough map and three town maps at a cost of £7,000 as well as a Mid and East Antrim-branded template to be produced to reprint literature at an estimated cost of £2,000.

The council’s Tourism Manager Shelley Pinkerton told councillors that there are “extremely limited supplies” of some tourism literature from the legacy councils and that printing new literature would be an “interim measure” until the new tourism strategy comes into place in March 2016.

Alderman Gregg McKeen welcomed the proposal, and asked if it would be possible to look at a draft of the promotional material before it was distributed.

This was echoed by Cllr Jim Brown, who said that councillors didn’t want to be presented with a “fait accompli”.

Ms Pinkerton confirmed that this would be possible.

Ald McKeen also queried whether 20,000 copies of each of the two guides was enough.

Ms Pinkerton replied: “We’re keeping it to a limited print run at this stage because we felt that once we looked at the overarching tourism strategy, we may want to make amendments.”

Deputy Mayor Timothy Gaston added: “£30,000 seems like a lot of money but in terms of tourism in this borough it’s a drop in the ocean.”

Councillor Stephen Nicholl suggested combining the visitor and accommodation guides.

“One half of the booklet could be visitor attractions and the other half accommodation,” he said.

The proposal was approved.