A Derry businessman has called for the promoters of visitor attractions and the private sector to work hand in hand to ensure more footfall at the city’s tourism hotspots.
Peter MacKenzie, of Bloom’s Café at the Verbal Art Centre, has suggested that visitor numbers to certain attractions in the city can be boosted by those marketing them working closely with the hospitality industry in Derry.
In particular, he has suggested that Derry City Council’s marketing department should print a generic admittance vouchers for a range of all the attractions in the city and distribute them to local coffee shops and restaurants.
He explained: “When a customer uses these outlets the café can decide the price they pay for the voucher, for example £2 when they buy a cup of tea or coffee or £1 if they buy a breakfast or lunch or free if they spend £10 or more. The individual café or restaurant would be free to determine their own marketing strategy but when they put their stamp on the voucher they will redeem the voucher from the receiving attraction for £2.00.”
Mr MacKenzie strongly believes that the adoption of such a strategy would see a “substantial increase” in the footfall to all the attractions in the city.
He added: “One of the most surprising aspects of our tourist attractions is how little they are used. In June of last year I asked one of the staff in the Tower Museum what number of people came into the museum off the street. I said I wasn’t interested in coach tours and school groups but in the number of people who came in independently. I was horrified to find that they had 8 people that day and that 15-25 a day was a reasonable guess for the summer season. For a facility that costs the council £1m a year I thought this was awful. We have seen the Amelia Earhart Museum, the Railway Museum and the Harbour Museum all close due to lack of attendance. Amazingly, the Harbour museum which is located in the only building with a maritime heritage is to be moved to the Waterside.”