Doubling spend to £100m. by 2025 and creating up to 1,000 new jobs in the sector are among the key objectives of a new seven year tourism plan launched by Derry & Strabane Council.
The ambitious new strategy centres around the district’s stunning and historic location - a cultural centre set where the wild Atlantic Way meets the Causeway Coastal Route.
Mayor Maolíosa McHugh says the tourism strategy is “dynamic and forward thinking”.
“At its core is the drive to draw more overnight visitors who have the time to explore and enjoy the many attractions we already have to offer,” he said. “It also highlights the need to work collectively to improve visitor experience and turn our location into a real strength.
“I particularly welcome the commitment to developing the use of digital technology to improve visitor experience and the strong focus being placed on investment in marketing the city and district and wider region.”
A key element of the strategy is a focus on developing the rural offering and building on existing tourism assets such as the Walled City.
Stephen Gillespie, Director for Business and Culture with the Council, explained that the three core supporting themes for successful delivery of the strategy were History and Heritage, Creativity and Culture and Activity and Adventure.
He commented: “We are very keen to use our historic and heritage assets to encourage tourists to explore our epic stories throughout the centuries.
“We are very keen to capitalise on our vibrant arts scene and build on our existing events calendar to develop our existing celebrations including Halloween and the Foyle Maritime Festival to establish the city and region as a cultural destination of choice on the island of Ireland.
“The strategy also recognises the importance of developing our natural assets, such as the Sperrins, to make them more accessible to visitors.”
Council says that at the heart of the strategy is the goal to create and support jobs which will be generated through increased visitor spend.
Mr Gillespie says the successful delivery of this strategy is dependent on “strong leadership, collaborative working and supported by timely, accurate and insightful data that will “assist us to steer the future of tourism over the next eight years.”
Copies of the Tourism Strategy are available to download at www.derrystrabane.com/tourism