Today, 28th March 2017, Mid Ulster District Council launched its plan to develop the region’s tourism industry to 2021. The five year strategy aims to enhance the image and reputation of the area for visitors and to grow the economy by £50m by 2021.
Tourism businesses from across Mid Ulster attended the launch event at Corick House Hotel, Clogher where the council revealed three key themes, around which the future growth of the tourism industry is to be structured. These are; Seamus Heaney, archaeological sites, history and heritage and outdoor activities.
Together, with a focus on building the region’s reputation for good food and events, each theme will play a central part in developing, growing and raising the profile of Mid Ulster in order to encourage visitation, spend as well as positioning tourism as a significant economic driver.
In addition, the strategy focuses on the development of tourism linkages through the creation of a tourism development group of which local authority, operator representatives and key stakeholders are members. It is anticipated the group will comment and contribute on a range of areas including marketing development and delivery.
During the launch event the Council took the opportunity to showcase a range of tourism products and services from the region including; Seamus Heaney HomePlace and the dark skies project as well as outline the plans for the forthcoming spring campaign ‘Discover what’s on your doorstep in Mid Ulster.’ Amongst other products showcased, a mini-observatory revealed the secrets of the night skies to guests, while star of stage and screen, NI actor Ian McElhinney, attended and read an extract from Seamus Heaney’s Station Island.
Launching the strategy, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said;
“Our strategy focuses on Mid Ulster’s key strengths – our history and heritage, the great outdoors and our connections to one of our most celebrated writers, Seamus Heaney. In developmental terms, the opening of Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy is not only a focal point for celebrating the life and literature of the Nobel Laurate but also represents the beginning of a new era for literary tourism locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
"This region’s rich heritage and history from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, pre Christian and early Christian periods through to the O’Neills, the Flight of the Earls and plantation times, gives Mid Ulster a unique advantage in offering visitors a wealth of opportunities to steep themselves in a history which spans not just centuries, but millennia. And when underpinned by the natural heritage which we also have, Mid Ulster offers an incredibly strong appeal for visitors interested in enjoying the great outdoors, whether that’s gentle walking or cycling or adrenaline-pumping mountain biking or off-roading."
Cllr Trevor Wilson added;
“Working together with the tourism industry will result in more visitors choosing to experience what we have to offer, in enticing them to stay longer. And that will determine how successful we are in increasing the number of jobs supported by the industry and the significance of tourism as an economic driver for this area.”
John McGrillen, Tourism NI Chief Executive commented;
“Throughout the comprehensive five-year strategy launched this morning, Mid Ulster Council has shown commitment to the growth of the tourism industry in the area. Tourism NI recognise the potential that Mid Ulster has to deliver this growth through the strong literary tourism offer in the area as well as the significant history and heritage sites that visitors can enjoy.”
For further information on Mid Ulster Tourism visit www.midulstercouncil.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter @MidUlster_DC #midulstertourism #midulsterstars