The Causeway Coast and Glens City Council’s successful tourism development program is now open to new applications.
Described by previous contributors as “an open door of opportunity”, “inspiring” and “motivating”, the funded program provides expert guidance to restart growth in the region’s tourism business sector.
Initially introduced in December 2020 as part of the Council’s response to COVID, it has already helped 19 different trade participants, including local manufacturers, housing providers and visitor service operators.
Encouraging potential applicants to apply, Causeway Coast Mayor and Glens City Council Advisor Richard Holmes said: “While the tourism team has been active in offering targeted training courses over the years, this is the first time the Tourism Excellence Program is offering such a course. individual mentorship along with workshops and this approach has been very well received.
“Program facilitators will help with digital audits, brand and content development, and business strategy, and some participants have benefited from creating short promotional videos and professional photos to make them stand out.
“Holidays in Northern Ireland, from the Republic of Ireland and the UK have supported our economy of late and we are pleased to see a gradual return of international visitors. This is a great opportunity to help further develop our county’s tourism business and grow our tourism economy.
“As we launch the third round of the Tourism Excellence Program, I encourage eligible businesses to seize this opportunity and use this free expert guidance to identify new target markets that will lead to greater development and sustainability.”
Reflecting on how the program has helped her business, Jeri Martin of The Chocolate Manor said: “The one-to-one mentorship has really helped us define a realistic and achievable post-COVID strategy. The program provided practical support with tangible results that had an instant impact on our business. The experience of the delivery team is extensive and every element of the program was very helpful.”
Richard Connor of Causeway Boats, who has been in the business for over 20 years, said: “We found digital audits and mentorship refreshing. We have applied the acquired skills to our social networks and the action plan has focused us on areas of growth and trends that we have benefited from. This has led to the addition of an additional employee for the 2021 season as well as new orders.”
The Tourism Development Program (TEP) is a collaborative initiative run through the Alchemy Council Business Mentoring Program and funded in part by the Department of Tourism. Invest in Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund through Investing for Growth and Jobs in Northern Ireland (2014-2020).