Limavady Borough Council has hit back at claims by a local MLA there “is simply not enough work being carried out by the Council officials to promote the tourism potential”.
Sinn Féin MLA for East Derry, Cathal Ó hOisín says there needs to be “a comprehensive, focused approach to be given to promoting the Limavady area’s tourism potential” following news of “yet further funding, amounting to £7.3m being provided to both the Coleraine Borough Council and Derry’s Brooke Park”.
Mr Ó hOisín said: “Sinn Féin tabled a question to the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment about the levels of capital investment by the Tourist Board into each council area of the five council areas along the the north coast. Limavady Borough Council area was the lowest of these council areas by far, with the difference amounting to millions of pounds.
“There is simply not enough work being carried out by the Council officials to promote the tourism potential.”
Mr. O’hOisin said: “Only recently the Culture Company has been in detailed negotiations with neighbouring areas including Donegal Council, Inishowen tourism, Coleraine Borough Council and Strabane District Council. They are also keen to come into the Limavady area in order to share knowledge and build upon work already done.”
He added: “I intend to initiate a forum meeting this good will for local accommodation providers, those in the hospitality sector and other stakeholders to maximise the potential for the Limavady area with regards to the city of culture and the Fleadh Ceol na hEireann in particular.
“In the absence of a proactive approach from Council officials I would call on all the local elected representatives to aid in this endeavour and to work to establish a five year strategy to advance the huge tourism in the Limavady area.”
However, Council has hit back and said it is actively engaged in working to promote the tourism opportunities of the area.
“Limavady Borough Council Culture, Arts & Tourism officers are actively engaged with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Causeway Coast and Glens Regional Tourism Partnership to promote the excellent accommodation, activities and attractions that the Borough of Limavady has to offer visitors attending the Irish Open Golf Tournament,” a spokesperson told the Journal.
“This includes the Danny Boy Festival events and working with activity providers to secure extended opening hours for those golf visitors seeking activities and events in the evenings of the tournament week.”
The spokesperson revealed discussions have been ongoing over some months with officials from Derry City Council and the City of Culture Company to “ensure Limavady Borough benefits from the Clipper Race in June/July 2012 and also from the exciting programme of events planned for the UK City of Culture in 2013”.
“Council officials will be attending a formal workshop with the City of Culture Company in late June 2012 to progress this further,” said the spokeserson.
“Limavady Borough Council is also sponsoring the Limavady Jazz and Blues Festival, the Roe Valley Folk Festival, the Stendhal Festival of Art and the 2012 Ulster Fleadh in Dungiven all being held in Limavady Borough over the summer of 2012. These events, together with the Danny Boy Festival, the ongoing exciting programme of arts and cultural activities on offer at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre together with the range of excellent outdoor recreational facilities showcase that Limavady is well able to contribute to a quality visitor experience for Northern Ireland’s expected national and international visitors.”