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Councillors look at marketing plan for Antrim tourism

Members of the council are set to discuss an opportunity to market the borough nationally and internationally using the Visit Belfast Company.

A presentation was made by Chief Executive of Visit Belfast Mr Gerry Lennon, to the Development and Leisure Committee on Thursday morning.

Visit Belfast is responsible for marketing Belfast City regionally, nationally and internationally on behalf of Belfast City Council.

Mr Lennon explained that Antrim would be located within the Greater Belfast Region and they would be keen to continue and promote the attractions of the borough.

Council officers have been in discussions with the management of Visit Belfast to explore potential opportunities for collaborating on specific promotional initiatives as well as wide marketing campaigns that can help raise the profile of the borough.

Mr Lennon explained that Antrim Borough Council would need to invest £15,000 to take exploring the various marketing opportunities offered by Visit Belfast.

This includes marketing on a national and international basis, Mr Lennon said: “This is a unique opportunity for Antrim, we can provide £2 million sales opportunities right to the target audience.”

He went on to say that tourism was now an important industry in Northern Ireland. “Tourism has not always been a high priority but now it is, it is no longer a Cinderella industry,” he added.

Councillor Drew Ritchie asked does Visit Belfast specifically market hotels in the Antrim area, he “Do you encourage people to come out and stay in Antrim? Because that is important to us.”

Mr Lennon replied: “Our primary objective is to market the region. We sell the region and not individual hotels and sell the destination.”

With Lough Neagh an important part of the borough, Councillor Henry Cushinan asked would this be considered in any marketing for Antrim.

Mr Lennon told members that he used to work for Antrim Borough Council “I know exactly the potential of the Lough.”

Councillor Neil Kelly said that members could not make an educated decision until they see further details about the costs involved.

Councillor Anne Marie Logue said: “I think it’s a fantastic marketing tool, we are obviously interested in the cost to the rate payer.”

Strategic Director of Development and Leisure, Geraldine Girvan agreed to bring a detailed report to next month’s committee meeting explaining details of the benefits for the council this would have, the costs involved and the possible way forward

 

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