Some of Mid and East Antrim’s hidden gems could become must see destinations for anyone exploring the globally renowned Causeway Coastal Route thanks to a cash injection.
The Rural Tourism Collaborative Experiences Programme, launched by DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) will provide funding of up to £50k to help boost footfall to specific rural areas across the borough.
Community and businesses within the coastal delights of Whitehead, Islandmagee, Glenarm and Carnlough will be encouraged to work together to see where they can help grow and develop tourism experiences with stunning potential.
The approach aims to encourage collaboration to identify the uniqueness of an area and package a range of authentic local products and services that can be promoted as a combined experience.
It’s hoped that by investing in new and improved experiences, visitors will flock to previously undiscovered treasures along the famous Causeway Coastal Route, giving more businesses a bite of the tourism cherry.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said: “This collaborative working will create vital economic activity in rural areas. This is a key focus for council as we move into the economic recovery of our local tourism industry. Attracting domestic visitors into the borough by offering authentic experiences will enhance the tourism appeal of the region and encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more.
“With Shaped by Sea and Stone, our tourism brand, and various campaigns including RediscoverMEA and MEAdventures, we have already been putting our fantastic assets on the map, but with extra funding and a chance to strengthen relations between council, rural communities and the tourism hitters in these local areas, we are really excited to see the outcomes. We are very proud to boast such stunning scenery and warm welcomes across our borough, so it’s great to have a chance to show off about these on a world stage as part of NI’s wider tourism campaign to Embrace a Giant Spirit.”
The initial themes will explore the themes of culture and creativity, recognising the significant natural, cultural and industrial heritage of these areas and the people that live there.
It’s hoped that showcasing a number of coastal activities and creative talents across the hospitality and arts sectors will bring visitors from across the country. Families, activity seekers and the culturally curious will all be catered for by boosting projects already in place and developing new ones.
It’s hoped that by 2022 the new clusters will become an instantly recognisable part of the ever-growing tourism industry in Northern Ireland.