Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council hosts second annual Tourism Conference at Brownlow House, Lurgan
Tourism growth across Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council continues apace, with solid progress made delivering an annual 10 percent rise in economic impact by 2022.
That was the message at the Council’s second annual Tourism Conference which took place at the stunning Brownlow House, Lurgan, which was attended by key partners from the thriving local tourism sector.
Attracting more visitors and increasing tourism spend from local, national and international visitors are at the heart of the Council’s strategic tourism blueprint launched last year and which will help drive a significant drive in growth within five years.
Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Gareth Wilson, said:
“With a concerted, collaborative focus on driving our tourism economy forward, by raising our profile and by proactively seeking and securing opportunities on a global stage, the borough is firmly on track to meet our ambitious targets for growth.
“Backed by a compelling tourism offer and real commitment and enthusiasm, we have been actively out in the global market seeking opportunities to encourage even more business to the broad range of sectors within the hospitality industry here.
“The environment and the conditions are right for further progress and we urge our local companies and the industry at large to think about how, together, we can continue to ensure that we have a market-leading product which more and more international visitors can experience.”
Delegates at the inspiring event heard from a range of speakers across the tourism sector, including Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, who outlined his organisation’s target to double the value of tourism across Northern Ireland to £1.7 billion by 2030, creating around 20,000 jobs.
ABC Council Chief Executive Roger Wilson also updated the sector on the significant breadth of activity delivered since the council’s first Tourism Conference took place last year.
Since then, the Council has spearheaded the launch of a new destination website and integrated social media platforms and on-the-ground attendance at a variety of international tourism promotion events in association with partners Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, reaching more than 1,500 tour operators across nine global markets.
The Council has for several years been busily preparing the groundwork for growth by looking strategically into the future, examining its objectives, its priorities and its current and future investment needs in a process was always about safeguarding its strengths and adapting to the future needs of increasingly discerning international visitors.
Achieving a significant ramp-up in visitor numbers and, crucially, increased spend, a key focus will be on establishing Armagh City and the orchard hinterland as a destination centrepiece, in addition to pursuing new tourist accommodation development opportunities borough-wide.
“The focus for tourism across the borough is defined by drawing out our biggest tourism, cultural and heritage assets and ensuring they act as visitor and business generators for the region,” ABC Council Chief Executive Roger Wilson said.
Delegates were also treated to Virtual Reality demonstrations by Leona Hill, Managing Director of Edgeways, a locally-based creative and immersive digital studio together with a presentation on the presence of this emerging technology and its importance in tourism promotion across the world.