New map and website to aid coastal tourism development

Peter Bolan with participants on the final Coastal Tourism Hub seminar at Carrickfergus Enterprise. INCT 12-708-CON
Peter Bolan with participants on the final Coastal Tourism Hub seminar at Carrickfergus Enterprise. INCT 12-708-CON

A visitor map and website are to be completed next month as a Carrickfergus Enterprise-led project to develop coastal tourism concludes.

Over the last 12 months, 30 local tourism providers have benefitted from a range of support including business mentoring, World Host training and mystery shopping through the Coastal Tourism Hub.

The aim of the project, supported by the Coastal Communities Fund, is to develop the capabilities and knowledge of particpants to assist them in enhancing their product offering to ensure that visitors stay longer in the local area and spend more.

Last week, the project held its fourth and final seminar, ‘Maximising the Tourist Experience’ facilitated by Dr Peter Bolan, director for International Travel & Tourism Management at Ulster University.

Participants heard at first hand the importance of creativity and innovation across the industry and how to capture more of the tourist spend.

Dr Bolan said: “It was a pleasure to meet so many inspiring business owners from the region. Their enthusiasm and passion to grow tourism in the area came through strongly and this initiative from Carrickfergus Enterprise has clearly inspired and fostered collaboration amongst the stakeholders involved.”

The initiative is also providing funding to develop a visitor map for the area as well as a joint website.

Kelli Bagchus, manager Carrickfergus Enterprise, said: “There are so many hidden gems in this area that are not always visible to the tourist.”

Describing it is an exciting time in tourism, Kelli continued “this area is now on the radar for many tourists particularly Europeans keen to explore the area”.

“We hope the visitor map and joint website can further boost this interest.”

Dr Bolan concluded: “The coastal region has enormous tourism potential and through events and initiatives like this one from Carrickfergus Enterprise, local business owners and stakeholders can play a stronger more vibrant role in helping to shape and develop the tourism experience for visitors and therefore to everyone’s benefit including the economic development of the region.”

The programme is currently being wrapped up with the visitor map and website due to be completed in April.

For further information on business support available for local businesses, contact Kelli Bagchus on 028 93 369528 or info@ceal.co.uk